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Speaking Engagements/Conferences

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

The fall agenda is filling up – a trip to Washington DC next week for two great conferences, a PCAOB SAG meeting in November in DC, but first a speaking engagement at UIC this weekend. Don’t forget back-to-back, Springfield and Chicago, for the Illinois CPA Society on auditor litigation.



18-Year Old Anthony Canalungo Questions Herbalife, And PwC, On Exchange Rates

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Anthony Canalungo wrote a really interesting article about Herbalife’s financials in Venezuela. Three different MLM companies from the peer group in addition to Herbalife operating in Venezuela and all except for Herbalife are using SICAD 2. What else do these four firms have in common? Auditor PwC.



Auditor Independence: Another Case of Misplaced Loyalty

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Ryan Adams testified on behalf of PwC in an important court case. How can PwC be independent of Adam’s employer Marin Software, and Adams, the Financial Reporting Director at this newly public PwC-audited client company, if he’s testifying on PwC’s behalf in litigation that could impact PwC’s business model in California and, perhaps, nationally?



Auditors and the Financial Crisis: Part of the Solution or Part of the Problem?

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

This is the text of my speech for the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics Conference last Friday. The theme of this year conference was “The Institutional Foundation of Capitalism”. Our special session was entitled ‘The New Financial Architecture after Financial Crisis’.



Three Book Reviews: Naked Bankers, Mute Watchdogs, And Youthful Luchre

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Just in time for summer vacations, I’d like to offer for your consideration three books I’ve recently read.



Reminiscing About The First Too Big To Fail Bank – Continental Bank

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

There’s a conference planned for next week, May 15, at Gleacher Center in Chicago, “30 Years After the Failure of Continental Illinois Bank: Have We Solved Too Big to Fail?” I wrote about my experience at CINB, my first job, for American Banker back in 2011.



US Department of Justice v KPMG: Document Shows “Too Few To Fail” Was Opening Premise

Saturday, April 19th, 2014

A new KPMG tax shelter era document surfaced, in original format, that had not yet been cited or quoted from in any media reports. The document tells us that late in the negotiations, June 27, 2005 the DOJ still would not agree to all of KPMG’s terms, including promising not to criminally charge the firm. But the decision to make sure the firm did not “go under” had already been made. KPMG and its Skadden attorneys only had to make sure the DOJ didn’t, in a misguided show of sheer aggressiveness, cause another Arthur Andersen.



Guest Post From Eric Starkman: The “Unvarnished” Truth About General Motors

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

GM is in trouble again and this time it’s worse than some weak internal controls or even a bankruptcy. Cost cutting may have discouraged the prompt replacement of faulty ignition switches now linked to at least 13 fatalities and the recall of 2.6 million vehicles. Are you still glad we bailed the company out?



All The Auditors Are Above Average: Jay Hanson Allergic To “Audit Failure”

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

Should audit and auditor failure be solely defined by identified material misstatements that result in restatements, and internal control failures? I don’t think so but Jay Hanson, PCAOB Board member, said so recently.



The SEC’s AgFeed Complaint: No Restatement Means No Sarbanes-Oxley Clawback

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

The AgFeed case is the mother lode for an SEC that says it’s ready to rack up some accounting fraud enforcement points and, perhaps, pursue a more aggressive enforcement approach to sparsely utilized Sarbanes-Oxley provisions like Section 304, clawbacks.