December 2, 2020

Grant Thornton Was Into Sarbanes-Oxley Before It Was Cool

When you think of hipsters, Ed Nusbaum probably isn't the first guy who comes to mind. But in a recent piece for Harvard Business Review, Nusbaum reflects on his humble beginnings working for his dad's hardware store and how Grant Thornton was ahead of the curve on SOX before there was even a curve to be ahead of:

Having seen plenty of people thank my dad later, I’m still likely to steer clients toward what my colleagues and I think are the right tools. That’s why Grant Thornton was the first U.S. accounting firm to support many of the proposals included in Sarbanes-Oxley before it became law, in 2002. We also said that stock options should be expensed and should appear on the income statement as a cost; I even went to Capitol Hill to persuade lawmakers of our position. More recently, we have backed proposals to expand the audit report to meet the needs of investors, and we support the efforts of the European Commission to improve audit quality, independence, and objectivity and to increase competition. We also favored the new Companies Act in India, which dramatically improves corporate governance and mandates independent oversight of auditors. All these positions have run counter to the inclinations of many of our clients, but we believe that as they build their businesses, these are the right tools to have in place.

The irony of the global CEO of the accounting firm with the worst PCAOB audit failure rate of 2012 supporting audit quality initiatives is not lost on us, dear reader.

Judging by the rest of the article, that irony is clearly lost on ole Ed. But hey, whatever gets you through the day, pal.

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