Now that the Securities and Exchange Commission has crossed KPMG’s independence violations off its to-do list, the agency can move on to the rest of the ones I’ve already identified for them. How about PwC and its business relationships and myriad services provided to audit client Thomson Reuters?
It’s been almost three years since I first broke the story of KPMG’s loaned tax staff arrangement with audit client GE. On January 24 the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced an $8.2 million settlement with KPMG over violations of auditor-independence rules. The wheels of justice turn very slowly. But the GE case was not one of the three cited as the subject of the enforcement action.
Francine McKenna is an experienced speaker who can present on a variety of subjects.
Typical topics include:
The role of the external auditor and litigation issues pertaining to external audit
The external auditor’s obligation to detect fraud
Careers in the accounting industry and accounting education
Corporate governance and the role of Audit Committee
Internal audit – Roles and Responsibilities
The intersection [...]
SEC Administrative Judge Cameron Elliot issued a blistering decision last week in a long-running dispute over regulator access to auditor work papers in fraud investigations. The judge banned the Chinese Big Four firms from auditing US issuers for six months and lambasted them for voluntarily putting their firms “between a rock and a hard place.” The decision is not yet final but the enormous impact is already being felt worldwide.
How do the audit firms keep winning the war while losing battles left and right? They use the law and the courts to delay, deter and distract from transparency by settling, and sealing what they can, before the public can find out what silly arguments they often make in their defense.
Stories that get stuck in your teeth.
Could the audit industry, which thrives on a government mandate that subsidizes an oligopolistic business model, survive if we went, catastrophically, from four to three global firms?
We now know more about what the firms have been hiding. The global capital markets, not just current shareholders, need full disclosure of the engagement teams on all public issuers over time, and in a way that is easily accessible.
There are five big auditor independence issues that space prevented a full discussion of yesterday and that are not on the agenda of the PCAOB SAG meeting this week. My hope is that regulators, policy makers and other interested parties will start talking about these issues, too, while I am in DC this week.
PwC says it will acquire Booz. Don’t count on the SEC or the PCAOB to stop PwC and its audit firm competitors from “slipping back” into the old conflicts between audit and consulting. Is anyone guarding the guardians?