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?
Archive for the ‘The Big 4 And Globalization’ Category
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.
Does the PCAOB’s proposal on naming lead audit partners for US listed issuer audits contemplate any exemptions? No, but they do exist in the jurisdictions that say they hold lead audit partners accountable.
Who has the last word on audit quality and compliance with GAAP and SEC filing requirements for US-listed foreign companies? If you were hoping it was the US audit firm, you’ll have to prove your case in court.
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.
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.