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.
Archive for the ‘PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Category
Yesterday’s column at American Banker digs into the accounting for JP Morgan’s reported “hedge”. I was shocked – OK, not really – that no main stream media outlet had explained the stunning announcement made by Jamie Dimon last Thursday.
I was the first to report on December 6 the irony of Deloitte having been selected by, of all banks, JP Morgan Chase. The high likelihood of a conflict between the bank and the audit firm, and possibly the individual Deloitte partners assigned to the JP Morgan Chase review, should have been obvious to anyone at the OCC. It turns out I was right.
Let’s not forget PricewaterhouseCoopers, MF Global’s auditors.
When it comes to hands-on access to private information, the auditor has more than any other regulator mentioned. And they are supposed to be experts in that client’s business and in the accounting and auditing standards for that industry. PwC also audits JP Morgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Goldman Sachs. They are all large players in the futures brokerage industry.
Almost everyone wondering where the missing MF Global customer assets have gone thinks they will show up eventually. I believe the assets are long gone.
Making Mortgage Fraudsters Pay…But Via Private Lawsuits (And Some Attorneys General) Not Law EnforcementBy Francine • Jul 5th, 2011
Thank goodness for the plaintiffs’ bar and class action lawsuits. And state attorneys general. Without them, there’d be very little justice yet – or compensation – for any of the mortgage-related fraud perpetrated during the real estate bubble.
There’s one thing about litigation that everyone agrees on. Anything can, and sometimes does, happen.
There’s quite a bit of bad news coming out of Russia about PricewaterhouseCoopers and their client Yukos. Former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev stand co-accused in a new trial brought by prosecutors intent on preventing their scheduled release from prison in 2011. Khodorkovsky and Lebedev have decided to target PwC in their defense.
New US Advisory Leader, Dana McIlwain laid out the bad news: The time has come to cut. Average utilization is hovering at 69%. Cash collections are millions short. Campus recruiting for Advisory has been stopped cold. Business sucks and then there’s the 800+ BearingPoint folks to absorb. On November 11th the rank and file partners, fortified after training and coaching by HR via a webcast in the next few days, will chop 300+ professionals from PwC Advisory…
Given the pressures on costs and the longstanding ties some finance, audit, and accounting executives have with the accounting firms, it is not surprising that the weakening of the independence commitment may come from the companies themselves. What’s the downside for them? The potential for scrutiny by corporate governance experts and journalists? You can’t argue with a recession. And in the event of an accounting scandal or restatement, plaintiff’s lawyers will have an uphill battle to penetrate the impenetrable auditor liability shields and caps.
What’s lost in all of this discussion of efficiency and cost cutting?
Independence protects shareholder’s interests.