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January 29, 2023

Public Company CFO Says Naming Audit Partner Is NBD

Andy Bishop is the chief financial officer of Hallador Energy, a publicly traded coal company. Like many CFOs, he did a little bit of time at a large accounting firm, so he knows a thing or two about auditing and pays attention to the haps in that space. So when he heard that the PCAOB was going to propose an auditing standard to require the name of the audit partner for public company audits, he thought that sounded like a swell idea.

[Bishop] decided to publish the names and ages of his auditors on his proxy statement this year. He made the shift after he heard about the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s proposal and because he knew auditors in Europe are often required to sign their names to accounting statements.
 
His audit firm, Colorado-based Ehrhardt Keefe Steiner & Hottman PC, had no problem with the idea, he said, so he went ahead and identified the firm’s lead audit partner and concurring partner in his corporate proxy this year.
 
“I said, ‘This is what I’m doing,’ and they said, ‘OK,’ ” Mr. Bishop said.
As for those pansies who say that it'll make for riskier audits?
“I think that’s BS,” Mr. Bishop said. “I’m the CFO of a public company, so my name’s already out there and so is my salary, my age, my bio, how many shares I own, and if I buy or sell them.” Auditors of public companies have a similar responsibility and should be able to handle similar levels of scrutiny, he said.
 
“Our firm thinks it’s a good idea,” Mr. Bishop added, noting investors may get additional confidence from the disclosure. “I want people to know the audit partner’s not a kid and he’s not 100 either,” he said.

For the record, Hallador's audit partner is 39-year-old Doug Reeb. The concurring partner is 60-year-old Gaylen Hansen.

Huh. That's not hard at all.

Why One Company Names Its Audit Partners [CFOJ (Subscription)]

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