(Reuters) – When Peregrine Financial collapsed earlier this month, a nagging question resurfaced. As in the implosion of Lehman Brothers, the fall of Bernard Madoff and other cases in recent years, many asked: Where were the accountants?
That this question still arises could be seen as an indictment of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley law, enacted 10 years ago on Monday. The law was a response to accountants’ failures to sound the alarm about financial misconduct at Enron Corp, WorldCom and a host of other companies.
(Reuters) – The Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday sought to delay its legal battle with a Chinese unit of accounting firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu over audit documents, citing ongoing negotiations with Chinese regulators.
In a filing with a U.S. federal court, the SEC said it wanted a six-month stay so it could try to work out an arrangement with Chinese regulators to get audit documents.
NEW YORK, July 13 (Reuters) – A full-scale adoption of
international accounting standards by the United States has
little support and few investors or companies are prepared for
it, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said on Friday.
In a long-awaited staff report, the SEC said a wholesale
switch to international standards would strain the resources of
U.S. companies and a staged transition has more support.
NEW YORK, July 12 (Reuters) – Keep it short.
So said the professional group that sets U.S. accounting
standards in a statement on Thursday about the financial reports
companies issue each year.
The Financial Accounting Standards Board is seeking comment
through Nov. 16 on ways to make financial reports more relevant
The watchdog for U.S. auditors has been debating some of the toughest reforms in many auditors’ memories this year. Now some legal experts are questioning whether it has the authority to impose its most controversial idea – making companies switch, or rotate, audit firms after a set number of years.
In a letter to the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, members of the American Bar Association joined a long line of critics of rotation. The lawyers cited the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley act, which created the PCAOB, and questioned where it gave the board any authority to mandate rotation.
By Dena Aubin
(Reuters) – Making U.S. companies switch or rotate auditors every few years would not end audit failures, and regulators should consider additional measures to protect investors, former securities regulators and legal experts said on Thursday.
The auditing profession has become a comfortable oligopoly and its basic product has become suspect, said Harold Williams, former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, at a forum in San Francisco.
June 28 (Reuters) – Making U.S. companies switch or rotate
auditors every few years would not end audit failures, and
regulators should consider additional measures to protect
investors, former securities regulators and legal experts said
The auditing profession has become a comfortable oligopoly
and its basic product has become suspect, said Harold Williams,
former chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission,
at a forum in San Francisco.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Chinese arms of all of the Big Four audit firms have been asked by U.S. regulators to turn over documents related to audits of China-based companies that are listed in the United States, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.
The formal requests made by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission raise the stakes in a standoff between U.S. authorities, the companies and Chinese officials over access to the auditors’ work papers.
NEW YORK, June 13 (Reuters) – Accounting firm BDO USA has
agreed to pay $50 million to settle charges of selling tax
shelters that generated $6.5 billion in phony tax losses for
wealthy clients, U.S. prosecutors said on Wednesday.
The penalty is part of a wide-ranging, nearly decade-old
government case against illegal tax shelters. Big Four
accounting firm KPMG narrowly avoided an indictment in
2005 over its sale of tax shelters and was fined $456 million.
Sixty members of Congress, led by representatives Brad Sherman, a Democrat, and Republican John Campbell, have written to the U.S. Financial Accounting Standards Board warning of dire economic fallout from a plan to have companies put leases on their balance sheets.