In a bizarre piece of auditing news released late on a Sunday night, KPMG has verbally resigned as Nebraska-based TierOne Bank’s independent auditor, withdrawn its audit opinion for 2008 and taken back its review of TierOne’s financials for the quarter ended March 31, 2009.
Well damn, we’re fairly sure it couldn’t get any worse than that for TierOne, could it?
Citing risk of material misstatement, KPMG has also warned the audit committee that TierOne’s financials are not to be relied upon by investors. Even Overstock.com doesn’t get that kind of treatment.
Last month the Office of Thrift Supervision – TierOne’s primary regulator – gave it until April 30th to merge with or sell its assets to a healthier financial institution so we’re going to go out on a limb here by assuming that they aren’t going to have good news come Friday and KPMG is just doing the responsible thing by backing away from the mess with a week left.
In a move that probably just adds one more annoying hoop to jump through for auditors, audit engagements will now go through quality review with adoption of AS No. 7, Engagement Quality Review (EQR).
According to the press release, “The EQR standard provides a framework for the engagement quality reviewer to objectively evaluate the significant judgments made and related conclusions reached by the engagement team in forming an overall conclusion about the engagement.”
We’re hoping the engagement quality reviewers will be given free range to document their “overall conclusions” as they wish. Some that we would suggest: “You call yourselves auditors?“, “I’m recommending that the PCAOB inspect this engagement” or “What in God’s holy name are you blathering about?“. It would be a shame for the firms to institute a check-the-box method that would compromise artistic integrity.
In other PCAOB news, the Board is asking for comments on its Concept Release “to consider the effects of a potential requirement for the engagement partner to sign the audit report.” We speculated last week that signatures in blood or dog excrement might be appropriate in many cases but if you’ve got other ideas, you’ve got 45 days to give them better suggestions.
Press Release [PCAOBUS.org]
The details are still being worked out but another idea being floated around is giving partners the option of signing some opinions in dog feces, when the opinion being signed is in fact, of equivalent value.
Press Release [PCAOB.org]