• Archive for the ‘Audit Quality’ Category

    Update: Botta v. PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Case 3:18-cv-02615-RS

    By • Jun 30th, 2019

    A judge denied PwC’s motion for summary judgement. The case goes to trial in October. Mauro Botta brought an action in district court in California against PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP alleging that PwC wrongfully terminated him in retaliation for a whistleblower complaint he made to the Securities and Exchange Commission about PwC’s auditing practices. There’s been a lot written about the case, which is ongoing.



    An SEC Fine for KPMG in the PCAOB Data Theft Scandal and Another Horrible Revelation

    By • Jun 26th, 2019

    “Innovation demands risk-taking… which, in turn, entails redefining failure, stripping away its power to inhibit.” Chairman and CEO of KPMG Lynne Doughtie

    The Securities and Exchange Commission settled charges on Monday with KPMG LLP for the ongoing case of its partners altering past audit work after receiving stolen information about inspections of the firm that would be conducted by its regulator, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board or PCAOB. Five former KPMG officials were charged last year in the case that alleged they schemed to interfere with the PCAOB’s ability to detect audit deficiencies at KPMG. Two have pleaded guilty, two were found guilty and one is still pending trial.

    But in a new almost more egregious revelation, the SEC’s order also finds that KPMG audit professionals, including lead audit engagement partners sent exam answers related to mandatory continuing professional education, ethics and integrity, and training mandated by a prior SEC order finding audit failures to other partners, and also solicited answers from and sent answers to their subordinates to help them also attain passing scores. In addition to paying a $50 million penalty, KPMG is required to evaluate its quality controls relating to ethics and integrity, identify audit professionals that violated ethics and integrity requirements in connection with training examinations within the past three years, and comply with a cease-and-desist order. The SEC’s order requires KPMG to retain an independent consultant to review and assess the firm’s ethics and integrity controls and its investigation. I will be writing more soon.



    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.



    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.



    New Stories about the KPMG-PCAOB Scandal

    By • Aug 27th, 2018

    “Innovation demands risk-taking… which, in turn, entails redefining failure, stripping away its power to inhibit.” Chairman and CEO of KPMG Lynne Doughtie



    At the Stigler Center Pro-Market Blog: Big 4 Lobbies Against SOx

    By • May 30th, 2017

    The last time anyone attempted to “modernize” auditor independence rules it was the Securities and Exchange Commission, in 2000, before the Enron failure and Arthur Andersen’s demise, as a result of the growing concern that firms increasing focus on consulting was distracting them for their core purpose, auditing. The Big Four firms are now opportunistically lobbying to go back in time, before Enron, when the industry was self-regulated and mostly left alone, able to have as many conflicts of interest as their powerful public clients would allow.



    The SEC vs. The PCAOB and Jim Doty: Impasse or Détente?

    By • Jan 18th, 2016

    Jim Doty’s term as chairman of the PCAOB, the audit regulator, expired in October. All summer since I arrived in Washington D.C., leading up to that date and since, there’s been speculation about whether or not SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White would reappoint him to the job.



    Best Case Yet For Publishing Audit Partner Names: Grant Thornton’s Koeppel

    By • Dec 14th, 2015

    The PCAOB will vote on final rule based on its proposal on Tuesday Dec 15. If audit partner names were published in the audit report, or anywhere, the public, audit committees, investors and journalists could stop lousy auditors in their tracks. Melissa Koeppel of Grant Thornton is the best case yet for making audit partner names and their engagement history, disciplinary history, and litigation history public.



    PCAOB’s Franzel Speaks to AAA; Are Auditors’ ICFR Opinions Just “Busy-Work”?

    By • Aug 9th, 2015

    Auditor opinions on ICFR are not only not being done well, they are not producing warnings for investors and regulators that a material error and restatement is likely. Worse than that, when auditors get them wrong they whitewash their mistakes.



    Deloitte US First Female CEO; There’s More We Don’t Know

    By • Mar 2nd, 2015

    Wouldn’t it be nice if investors and other interested parties could look up new Deloitte US CEO Cathy Engelbert in a public and easily accessible registry and find out about all the audit clients where she has been a lead partner or a Quality Control partner? Has she ever been named in a lawsuit or been sanctioned? Let’s hope not.