Dena's Feed
Mar 13, 2012

Insight: Big 4 auditors spend more than ever on U.S. lobbying

By David Ingram and Dena Aubin

(Reuters) – The world’s largest accounting and auditing firms, known as the Big Four, have been pumping more money than ever before into U.S. lobbying and political campaigns as they confront new challenges from their regulator and Congress.

Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers last year spent a combined $9.4 million on in-house and outside lobbyists, according to a Reuters analysis of congressional disclosure reports.

Mar 8, 2012

Ernst & Young tightropes between audit, advocacy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Corporate audit giant Ernst & Young <ERNY.UL} operates a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., that has been hired in recent years by several corporations that were at the same time E&Y audit clients, prompting two senior U.S. lawmakers to demand closer regulatory scrutiny.

Amgen Inc (AMGN.O: Quote, Profile, Research), CVS Caremark Corp (CVS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research) have ongoing lobbying contracts with Washington Council Ernst & Young, an E&Y unit, while also using the audit firm to review the corporations’ books, according to documents reviewed by Reuters.

Mar 8, 2012

Exclusive: Ernst & Young tightropes between audit, advocacy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Corporate audit giant Ernst & Young <ERNY.UL} operates a lobbying firm in Washington, D.C., that has been hired in recent years by several corporations that were at the same time E&Y audit clients, prompting two senior lawmakers to demand closer regulatory scrutiny.

Amgen Inc (AMGN.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz), CVS Caremark Corp (CVS.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) and Verizon Communications Inc (VZ.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) have ongoing lobbying contracts with Washington Council Ernst & Young, an E&Y unit, while also using the audit firm to review the corporations’ books, according to documents reviewed by Reuters.

Mar 7, 2012

U.S. watchdog extends auditor rotation debate

March 7 (Reuters) – In an unusual move, a U.S. audit
industry watchdog is giving the public more time to weigh in on
a proposal to limit how many years an audit firm may work for
the same company, an idea meant to bolster the independence of
auditors from their clients.

After being inundated with hundreds of letters opposing the
idea, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board said on
Wednesday that the comment period would extend to April 22. It
had ended on Dec. 14.

Feb 29, 2012
via Tax Break

Canada warns on Chinese audit problems

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Downtown Shanghai in haze. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Having stirred up controversy in the United States, audit practices at China-based companies now are testing the patience of Canadian regulators.

In a special report, Canada’s audit regulator has come down hard on the quality of audits of Canadian-listed companies with operations in China, while voicing frustration at problems in getting documents.

Feb 28, 2012

US watchdog–auditors should review exec pay deals

Feb 28 (Reuters) – Auditors of U.S. companies would
have to look harder at executive pay and at accounting maneuvers
used to dress up financial results under a revised standard
proposed on Tuesday by the watchdog for the audit industry.

The proposal from the Public Company Accounting Oversight
Board would require auditors to read compensation contracts and
look for any incentives that might encourage executives to
inflate earnings.

Feb 17, 2012

Union pushing U.S. companies to reveal auditor ties

By Dena Aubin

(Reuters) – The $40 billion United Brotherhood of Carpenters pension fund, a long-time investor rights activist, is asking more than a dozen U.S. companies to start disclosing how long they have had the same outside auditor.

The push comes after the pension fund failed late last year in efforts to allow shareholders to vote on requiring companies to rotate or switch audit firms every seven years.

Feb 15, 2012
via Tax Break

Study supports shareholder vote on auditors

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New research lends weight to calls for shareholders to have more say in a company’s choice of an auditor.

Companies that give shareholders a choice  have fewer serious restatements that hurt stock prices, though their audit fees are also higher, the new study found.

Feb 9, 2012
via Tax Break

Former TIAA-CREF head John Biggs supports auditor rotation

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John Biggs, a key figure in a 2002 Congressional debate over term limits for public company auditors has thrown his support behind the idea again.

Breathing some life into an idea auditors are trying feverishly to snuff out, retired TIAA-CREF chairman John Biggs has told auditor regulators that public companies should be required to change auditors after 10 years.

Feb 8, 2012

Watchdog fines Ernst & Young $2 million over audits

By Dena Aubin

(Reuters) – The watchdog board for corporate auditors on Wednesday said it has imposed a $2 million penalty, its largest fine ever, on accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young LLP in a settlement involving past audits of Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp.

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board said it also sanctioned four current and former Ernst & Young partners for violating PCAOB rules in the audits of Medicis, which sells prescription drugs for asthma and skin conditions.