The opening article, A True and Fair View, sets the scene by highlighting the sole responsibility of the directors of the company to ensure that the annual accounts reflect a balanced view of the entity as a whole. This is irrespective of any external laws or rules be they legal, accounting or reporting requirements, emphasising the unique, singular situation in which each entity finds itself.
From here we turn our attention to the constitution of the board of directors. In Whose Name? features recent arguments for the inclusion of stakeholder representatives on the board, in addition to those who would otherwise be directly responsible for carrying the initiative of the organisation. Doubt is cast as to whether, left to their own devices, executive directors can be trusted to pursue activities beneficial not just to the organisation, and perhaps even just to themselves, but also to the wider community and environment which surrounds them. However, one has to wonder if the possibility of acting in such a self-centred way precludes the potential of acting both within the interest of one’s self and the interests of wider society in general. Do transactions always feature a winner and a loser, or can both parties gain from an exchange?
The Archive piece, Non-Executive Direction, features views on the effectiveness of the non-executive directors suggested in the previous article. Malcolm Prowle looks back to the experience of Robert Townsend as set out in his book Up the Organisation, published 35 years ago. Jane Sunley notes the experience of her colleagues and clients in the tendency of non-executive directors to stifle the creative initiative of those responsible for the entity’s activities, namely the executive directors.
The second Feature, Questioning the AGM, surveys the opinion of Australian directors on the Annual General Meeting, its effectiveness, structure and its future. Perhaps here one can find a space for the meeting of those charged with carrying the initiative of the organisation with those who directly support this through the provision of capital. Again the question is as to whether such events are always just the collision of two competing powers or can these tendencies be stilled in order to provide a space for something other to be heard.
The AE-Exchange page looks at True Price, in relation to the 13th Economics Conference and the practicalities of implementing such a concept. Also include are details of a two-day conference which was held at Said Business School, Oxford to look at the future of finance.
Victor’s View, Right Governance, brings this content into relation with the theme by highlighting the need for the communication required at the AGM to be both open and transparent and as such for the accounts to reflect True Prices. Tying back to the Sign of Our Time article, one wonders if any accounts can give a true and fair view without such a reflection.