If you read my writing about University of Chicago Booth School of Business Professors Chad Syverson and Joseph Gerakos and their paper on audit market exits, you may be interested in this post. It’s one of my first and it’s about the last GAO report on audit market competition.
Archive for the ‘The Big 4 And Globalization’ Category
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?
What’s different about this Chinese fraud lawsuit is that it names a US Big Four firm as a defendant. Not only has that not been done before but the US firms have traditionally been able to insulate themselves fairly successfully from frauds that happen abroad. It’s that global network “thang”.
It’s sexier for the media to focus on audit failures by inscrutable China-based Big Four audit firms than the general failure of auditors all over the world to protect investors from fraud.
I’ve been watching the developments for a while now between the global audit firms, their clients, the regulators on both sides, and investors – especially the shorts – who have been raising the issues of Chinese frauds. I’ve written quite a bit about these issue. If you’re playing catch up, this list of posts is a good place to start.
When you think about the big Las Vegas casinos, you should be thinking about Macau instead. The casino industry is a good example of the U.S. based multinationals that would suffer from any bold moves by regulators against the Chinese member firms of the Big Four audit networks.
There have been significant developments on the issue of Chinese frauds and in the efforts by the SEC and the PCAOB to investigate and bring responsible parties to justice, including the auditors of the companies under investigation.
But none of these developments will have any significant impact on the bigger problems facing China and investment in China.
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.
I asked CPA and blogger Jim Ulvog to write a guest post on the Olympus scandal because he was the only one to explain it to me from an accounting perspective. An investigative report prepared by auditor Ernst & Young Shin Nihon – yes, the one that missed the fraud – is a scathing indictment of the company and others potentially complicit in the multi-year subterfuge.
I wrote this post about a month ago for Forbes.com and my column, “Accounting Watchdog” on a very important legal decision related to a real estate company, Centro, in Australia. Centro’s auditors were PwC.