And yes the perpetrator, Longtop Financial Technologies, is a Chinese company.
As we mentioned, Deloitte had some decent reasons for kicking LFT to curb, among them:
(1) the recently identified falsity of the Company’s financial records in relation to cash at bank and loan balances (and possibly in sales revenue); (2) the deliberate interference by certain members of Longtop management in DTT’s audit process; and (3) the unlawful detention of DTT’s audit files. DTT further stated that DTT was no longer able to rely on management’s representations in relation to prior period financial reports, that continued reliance should no longer be placed on DTT’s audit reports on the previous financial statements, and DTT declined to be associated with any of the Company’s financial communications in 2010 and 2011.
And because it seems to be the standard narrative in stories such as these, Longtop’s CFO has resigned and “The Audit Committee has also initiated a search for a new auditor.” Although were not sure if there’s a firm out there that will pick up a client who has engaged in hostage taking.
Big win for the KPMG audit practice in New York as we’ve confirmed that the Asset Management group has won more audit work from the Westport, Connecticut hedge fund.
This week Institutional Investor compiled the largest 25 Hedge Funds and Bridgewater was at the top with $58.9 billion in hedge fund assets. Our source, someone familiar with matter, was impressed, “Huge win for them considering they’re typically fighting for 3rd in those major bids.” It’s our understanding that KPMG had some work from BW but adding more engagements will make for a prestigious addition to their client roster. Congrats to KPMG and the team that made it happen.
From the mailbag:
I am reading about PWC getting some spring love in the form of a bonus, and other firms already openly discussing compensation with their employees. Apparently Big D missed that memo.
Everybody at Deloitte had a terrible busy season, that is no secret. We changed our audit methodology, and then in December the powers that be decided to do some last minute tweaking, aka destroy any hope of a bearable busy season. I am a senior working out of Boston and have been pretty busy since October. To reward my hard work Deloitte has given me absolutely nothing. There was no post audit dinner, no monetary reward, not even a free cup of coffee. I did however (and so did everyone else in Boston) receive emails from every executive partner in the NE thanking us for all our hard work, reminding us how much money we made the firm, and telling us to reward ourselves by taking some time off. Apparently being rewarded now means using our own PTO to take a day off. I have had to work both firm holidays up to now (one in January and one in April for the Boston Marathon), so I am not sure when they think we can reward ourselves by using the PTO we already earned. Usually engagement teams hand out “Applause Awards” to their people for hard work, and maybe I am just on a few teams with Ebenezer Scrooge Partners, but I think it is crazy that either Deloitte, or the Boston Office, or one of my engagement partners couldn’t scratch together a few dollars as a thank you for the long hours.
Partners and HR continue to wonder why people leave, but we are continually asked to do more and more and never rewarded for it. With the other firms opening up the piggy banks already, what are the chances that Deloitte follows suit? They missed the mark last year on the compensation, and everyone suffered as a result with the crush of seniors headed for the door. As a result they ended up giving a mid-year raise just to stem the bleeding. Are partners too busy looking to next year or playing golf at their fancy country clubs to remember the little people?
Of course our writer is referring to the PwC bonuses we wrote about on Monday. Don’t know if this is a Deloitte problem or a Boston Deloitte problem but it sounds like Green Dots in Beantown are wicked pissed. How’s your office faring? Tell us below or email us.
The CAQ’s continuing dialogue with individual investors indicates that many in the marketplace do not fully understand the scope of the audit process and the responsibilities placed on public company auditors. The In-Depth Guide to Public Company Auditing will help to bridge that information gap. The new Guide describes how a public company audit firm decides to accept a new audit engagement, how it assesses the risk that the financial statements contain material misstatements as part of determining the audit’s scope, and then how the auditors perform and report their findings – all in plain English. [Cindy Fornelli/CAQ, Guide]
The House of Klynveld resigned as the auditor Shanghai-based ShengdaTech, Inc. effective April 29th after less than three years. According to the 8-K filed yesterday, KPMG was none too impressed with management blowing off their concerns:
KPMG previously informed the Company’s Audit Committee of certain concerns arising during its incomplete audits of the Company’s consolidated financial statements as of and for the year ended December 31, 2010, and the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2010. These concerns included serious discrepancies and unexplained issues relating to, among others: (i) the Company’s bank balances; (ii) transactions with major suppliers; (iii) VAT invoices and payments; (iv) sales and payments for sales by third parties; (v) sales to the Company’s second largest customer; (vi) discrepancies between KPMG’s direct calls to customers and confirmations returned by mail; and (vii) concerns raised by directly confirming customer sales and accounts receivables.
In a letter dated April 19, 2011, KPMG informed the board of directors of the Company that in KPMG’s view the Company’s senior management has not taken, and the board of directors has not caused senior management to take, timely and appropriate remedial actions with respect to these discrepancies and/or issues, and KPMG stated that the continued lack of resolution of the issues would materially impact the financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2010 and possibly prior periods.
And as you might expect, this resulted in KPMG taking its audit reports and going home:
On April 29, 2011, we were also informed by KPMG, our former independent accounting firm, that disclosures should be made and action should be taken to prevent future reliance on their previously issued audit reports related to the consolidated balance sheets of ShengdaTech, Inc. and its subsidiaries as of December 31, 2008 and 2009, and the related consolidated statements of income, shareholders’ equity and comprehensive income, and cash flows for the years then ended and the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2008 and 2009.
The PCAOB has just made a serious example out of Bountiful (yes, it’s a town), Utah-based Chisholm, Bierwolf, Nilson & Morrill by banning the firm permanently from auditing public companies after “numerous violations of professional standards, including failure to detect fraud.” The Board also barred former managing partner Todd Chisholm for life and partner Troy Nilson for five years.
Curious about what kind of shoddy work the firm performed to get such a slap? Us too. Luckily the Salt Lake Trib has an example:
One of the companies that the firm audited was Powder River Petroleum International Inc., an Oklahoma corporation with offices in Alberta, Canada.
Until it was placed into receivership in 2008, Powder River’s public filings reported that it acquired, developed and resold interests in oil and gas properties. The company resold interest in oil and gas leases to investors in Asia, but reported those investments as income despite also promising investors a return of 9 percent until their principal was recouped, the board said.
That resulted in the company, traded over-the-counter, overstating its revenue by up to 2,417 percent, its pretax income up to 441 percent and assets up to 48 percent.
I called the PCOAB to see if this was the most severe ban every given to a firm and a CPA but couldn’t get an immediate answer. The five year ban also seems pretty severe. Doesn’t seem like too much of a stretch since the Board has only issued 36 disciplinary actions since 2005. I’ll update the post when I get some definitive answers. UPDATE: We’ve been informed that “it’s among the most severe” penalties issued.
It’s also worth noting that two of the firm’s clients – Hendrx Corp. and Jade Art Group – had substantial Chinese operations which wouldn’t be an issue if it wasn’t for this, “Chisholm, who does not speak or understand Chinese, relied on Firm assistants with Chinese language skills to identify audit issues, communicate with management and third-parties, and analyze documents provided by the issuer.”
Maybe those “assistants” were audit wizards, maybe they weren’t but either way, Mr Chisholm might be looking to change careers.
Last week Navistar International Corp. sued Deloitte for $500 million alleging “fraud, fraudulent concealment, breach of contract and malpractice” on audits from 2002 to 2005. That, in and of itself, isn’t too unusual. What is pretty fun (not fun in a “man, the circus is fun” kind of way but in “you’ve gotta love this stuff” kind of way) is when a company comes right out and says that Deloitte lied about its competency to provide audit services.