• Author Archive

    Speaking Engagements/Conferences

    By • May 7th, 2019

    Coming up: May 15-June 3, 2019, I will be teaching a custom-developed Maymester course at Baylor University, Waco, Texas, 201920 ACC 5V98 M1 – Business Journalism.

    Intended for graduate accounting/finance and communications/journalism students, in this Maymester intensive business journalism course students will learn how to ask good questions, gather evidence, and write persuasively– skills that are essential to journalism/writing careers and an accounting/audit careers.

    Students will also learn how modern media sees its role as a financial markets watchdog and how it interacts with companies and professional services firms such as accounting, consulting and law firms. Reporters can still break big financial stories and make an impact, like Fortune’s Bethany McLean’s did to kickstart the questioning of Enron’s financials and John Carreyrou at the Wall Street Journal did with Theranos.

    Journalists also perform a public duty to deliver truth to power, and to do it objectively and responsibly, supported by evidence. They are an important part of the information environment alongside financial analysts and auditors.

    Thanks to Dr. Gia Chevis, CMA, the Graduate Program Director and PricewaterhouseCoopers Fellow for Teaching Excellence who is the Clinical Associate Professor in Department of Accounting and Business Law who encouraged me to do this. I can’t wait!



    What Are the Chances of a Significant Sanction or Fine for KPMG?

    By • Mar 31st, 2019

    Why shouldn’t the SEC and/or the Department of Justice now sanction, or in some way criminally penalize, KPMG the firm for the PCAOB data theft “steal the exam” scandal? Can you say D-E-B-A-R-M-E-N-T?



    The Question of the KPMG Whistleblower

    By • Mar 10th, 2019

    The timeline of who told whom what and when, this time around for KPMG, is a bit more complicated than David Middendorf described in his testimony in the criminal case against him for allegedly conspiring to steal PCAOB inspection data.



    McKenna On Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, and Kraft Heinz

    By • Mar 3rd, 2019

    Has Warren Buffett run out of long-run? The stars aligned and Warren Buffett issued an annual shareholder letter that was forced to include an embarrassing charge for significant losses on Berkshire Hathaway’s investment in Kraft Heinz. Buffett’s letter was a rant against GAAP, and a 180 degree turn from his typical long-term focus. I was in New York […]



    Amazon and taxes, oh my!

    By • Feb 18th, 2019

    Jeff Bezos has bigger problems than the Queens pull-out and criticism of Amazon’s taxes. He may want to wipe that smug look off his face.  Photo from Forbes.  Amazon backed out of its selection of Queens, NY as a location for a new headquarters this week.  It was a big story, revolving around new Queens/Bronx […]



    Do Investors Care At All About Audits Anymore?

    By • Jan 24th, 2019

    Would investors still pay for an audit if it weren’t legally mandated? Are regulators and exchanges perpetuating a government-mandated oligopolistic exclusive franchise for the Big 4 and a few additional firms that produces information investors now ignore?



    MarketWatch 2018 Stories That Packed A Punch

    By • Jan 13th, 2019

    A wrap-up of my writing in 2018 on three topics I’d been following that reached a climax last year — Theranos, FDIC v. PwC and KPMG/PCAOB inspection data theft— and three more where my reporting resulted in a legal or regulatory impact on the companies—ADT, Symantec, and IGC.



    Update: KPMG: Whittle and Holder Plead Guilty

    By • Nov 28th, 2018

    KPMG partner Thomas Whittle broke ranks on October 29 and pleaded guilty to all five criminal charges. He is now cooperating with prosecutors. Do you have more information about this case? Leave a comment here, one I can leave unposted, if you wish to communicate confidentially or DM me on Twitter @retheauditors for Signal encrypted confidential messaging instructions.



    A Requiem for Independent Audits: The Last Days of Theranos

    By • Oct 21st, 2018

    Looks like the Theranos investors decided that audits are worthless, even if the cost is some “immaterial to them” fraud losses.



    McKenna at Grant’s Interest Rate Observer 35th Anniversary Conference

    By • Oct 13th, 2018

    It was a great conference and I have now posted the slides.