How do the audit firms keep winning the war while losing battles left and right? They use the law and the courts to delay, deter and distract from transparency by settling, and sealing what they can, before the public can find out what silly arguments they often make in their defense.
Archive for the ‘Audit Quality’ Category
Ratings agencies and Big Four auditors don’t think they should be held accountable for their respective products. Here are some of the crazy ways they argue their case.
Big egos making shares move by waving their wands. That makes picking stocks based on fundamental analysis more than slightly anachronistic. A bit about Herbalife…
The Problem Of An Audit Firm Market Exit: New Research From University of Chicago Booth School of BusinessBy Francine • Jul 29th, 2013
A post at University of Chicago Booth School of Business Capital Ideas blog discusses new research from Joseph Gerakos and Chad Syversen on the dangers of industry concentration in the event of a market exit by one of the large audit firms. For example, what if PwC, which audits five of the top ten global pharma companies ran into trouble amid the ongoing investigations of bribery of Chinese officials, in particular by PwC audit client GlaxoSmithKline and a few of its other audit clients?
I noticed a small little thing in one of the first stories about Scott London. As I tried to research and write about it, I waited for someone else to pick up on it. (No one else did.) Scott London seems to have subverted the intent of Sarbanes-Oxley Section 203 that requires lead engagement partner rotation off engagements to promote objectivity, independence and professional skepticism.
HP announced today it is writing down more than $5 billion, or almost half of the Autonomy acquisition price, because of “serious accounting improprieties, misrepresentation and disclosure failures” by Autonomy former executives. Deloitte was the auditor of Autonomy, a UK software firm acquired by HP in 2011 for $11.1 billion.
How much lower does investor confidence have to go? How many more billions do customers have to lose before someone steps up?
You have to go outside of the US to see a trial of a Big Four audit firm to know what I’m talking about. Australia’s Centro case against PwC or Canada’s Nortel case where Deloitte partners testified recently tell you everything you need to know about why the Big Four will settle every time. Rather than have a jury and the public hear and see the pathetic state of the audit profession, its inability to stop executives who want to cheat, and its unwillingness to acknowledge liability as a firm when it screws up, the firms will reach into their seemingly bottomless pockets and pay up.
The Securities and Exchange Commission is rattling a dull sabre again towards Shanghai-based Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu CPA Ltd. for its refusal to provide the agency with audit work papers related to another China-based company under investigation for potential accounting fraud against U.S. investors. It looks to me like it’s personal rather than productive.