An ugly lawsuit filed by Mobile Monitor Technologies LLC against PwC and HP could be an excellent example of what Monadnock’s Mark O’Connor referred to in a recent post here: Advisory work that auditors perform can present an untenable conflict in performing their primary role, and public duty to the capital markets, as auditors.
GM is in trouble again and this time it’s worse than some weak internal controls or even a bankruptcy. Cost cutting may have discouraged the prompt replacement of faulty ignition switches now linked to at least 13 fatalities and the recall of 2.6 million vehicles. Are you still glad we bailed the company out?
I received a threatening email yesterday from Chinese stock promoter Tianbing “Benjamin” Wey, whose New York Global Group (“NYGG”) was closely affiliated with the failed, fraudulent Chinese hog producer AgFeed during the period under litigation by the SEC and shareholders. He did not like my mention of his relationship to AgFeed, its auditor and its executives in a recent post about AgFeed’s audit firms. His claims are not only strange but wrong.
Should audit and auditor failure be solely defined by identified material misstatements that result in restatements, and internal control failures? I don’t think so but Jay Hanson, PCAOB Board member, said so recently.
The AgFeed case is the mother lode for an SEC that says it’s ready to rack up some accounting fraud enforcement points and, perhaps, pursue a more aggressive enforcement approach to sparsely utilized Sarbanes-Oxley provisions like Section 304, clawbacks.
According to Freelancers Union, almost one-third of the American workforce is independent. That’s nearly 42 million people and growing. The staffing industry, which should support the wave of new freelancers, hasn’t adapted since William Russell Kelly founded the Russell Kelly Office Service in Detroit in 1946.
Exclusive From Monadnock Research: Big Four Fiscal 2013 Advisory Practice Rankings and Conflict Risk MetricsBy Francine • Mar 18th, 2014
This Monadnock Research Note offers an in-depth analysis of organic growth and strategic M&A in non-audit services for the Big Four audit firms, highlighting the growing risks associated with an increasing proportion of advisory relative to audit services at Big Four firms – and the conflict risk that this unique mix of services presents.
Company executives and directors like to believe they can purchase a posse of “trusted advisors”. Instead, they’ve often only bought a gaggle of self-interested auditors, lawyers, and consultants. But to whom does each of those vendors owe loyalty?
AgFeed had the benefit of two PCAOB registered and inspected audit firms. There is no indication on either the SEC or PCAOB website of an investigation of either for what happened at AgFeed. Is this one going to end badly, too, like the Gately case?
It is highly unusual for a board member, especially an audit committee member, to be a fraud whistleblower for a public company. Milton Webster, a former AgFeed director, did it but he, unfortunately, won’t be around to see the result of his significant social and professional sacrifice.