Apparently it’s auditor punishment Monday. Or Tuesday, if you’re Down Under:
A lead KPMG auditor who only learnt about a $1.9 billion [about USD $1.88 billion] error in his audit of Allco Finance Group through a report in BusinessDay was benched for nine months by the corporate regulator yesterday.
To be completely fair, it sounds like it may have been a tricky audit:
Christopher Whittingham, a KPMG partner, led a core team of 20 audit staff that signed an unqualified audit report on the notoriously complex accounts for Allco for the year ended June 30, 2007.
Or was it?
The error detected by BusinessDay involved the 2007 accounts classifying $1.9 billion in liabilities owed by Allco as non-current, telling investors they fell due more than a year later. The liabilities were, in fact, current liabilities, meaning they were due within the year. The amount of current liabilities is a significant issue for shareholders when considering whether a company can meet its debts when they fall due.
Whatever the case may be, Mr Whittingham shouldn’t sweat it too much:
[T]he Australian Securities and Investments Commission released an enforceable undertaking with Mr Whittingham, which included a nine-month suspension, a $10,000 fine and 10 hours of professional education.
Well, at least he’s taking responsibility for his mistake and isn’t pointing his finger at anyone else or making excuses, right?
Mr Whittingham said he had relied on managers for aspects of the audit, the error had no bearing on Allco’s collapse and he had reissued its accounts the day after he became aware of the error.
Regulator suspends senior KPMG auditor [Sydney Morning Herald]
(UPDATE) PCAOB Gives Ernst & Young Manager the Charlie Rangel Treatment