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Last year the Government Accountability Office issued a report that called attention to the SEC’s accounting system (or lack thereof). Reuters now reports that the SEC will admit in testimony tomorrow that the material weaknesses in their accounting system are largely due to technology that would make your grandparents laugh.
“These material weaknesses are unacceptable,” the SEC’s top division directors said in prepared testimony that was viewed by Reuters. They added the “root causes” of the problems stem from “years of underinvesting in financial system technologies.”
It should be noted that while the accounting systems were not quite up to snuff for the GAO, the equipment used by employees was sufficient for viewing a metric asston of porn, which we just learned moments ago, was even more widespread than initially thought.
It’s bad enough that 3% of Weatherford International’s revenues come from Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Bahrain but the company also revealed in a their NT 10-K filed yesterday that they aren’t so good at staying top of their taxes:
The Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K (the “Form 10-K”) for the year ended December 31, 2010 cannot be filed within the prescribed time period because the Company has identified a material weakness in internal controls over financial reporting for income taxes and requires additional time to perform additional testing on, and reconciliation, of the tax accounts to be included in the annual financial statements to be presented in the Form 10-K. The Company expects to file the Form 10-K on or before the 15th calendar day following the prescribed due date.
FuelFix has the gory details:
Oil field services firm Weatherford International goes by the stock ticker is WFT, but analyst reaction to the company reporting more than $500 million in tax errors is more likely drawing the reaction of “WTF?” from investors.
The company said it will have to restate its earnings going back to 2007 due to “material weaknesses” in its internal controls, namely:
1. inadequate staffing and technical expertise within the company related to taxes,
2. ineffective review and approval practices relating to taxes,
3. inadequate processes to effectively reconcile income tax accounts and
4. inadequate controls over the preparation of quarterly tax provisions.
So in other words, Weatherford has no tax experts in their accounting department, no one to supervise or review the work of those experts and no checks or balances over the tax provision process as a whole. Was the Ernst & Young audit team aware of this? Last year’s 10-K had a clean opinion, in case you were wondering. Oh, and Weatherford moved its HQ to Switzerland back in ’08. So there’s that.
KPMG has been kicked to the curb by Enterprise Financial according to an 8-K that was filed on Friday by the company. The ubiquitous claim of “no disagreements with [insert firm]” was there along with a mention of a material weakness that was related to the restatements issued for both 2008 and 2007 but that couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the dismissal of the auditors:
In connection with the identification of the loan participation accounting error described in Item 7, Management Discussion & Analysis and in Item 8, Note 2 of the consolidated financial statements and elsewhere in the Form 10K dated March 16, 2010, the Company also determined that a material weakness in its internal controls over financial reporting existed during the periods affected by the error, including as of December 31, 2008. The Company’s management concluded that the material weakness was the Company’s lack of a formal process to periodically review existing contracts and agreements with continuing accounting significance. To remediate this material weakness, during the fourth quarter of 2009 the Company implemented a formal process to review all contracts and agreements with continuing accounting significance on an annual basis. As a result of the review conducted in the fourth quarter, management did not identify any other errors in its previous accounting for such contracts or agreements. Management believes that this new process has remediated the material weakness in the Company’s internal control over financial reporting.
So in other words, “Yeah, maybe we should have been looking at these contracts but we weren’t and so some material misstatements slid through. We’ve slapped some duct tape on it and it’ll be fine from here on it. End of story.”
The esteemed pleasure of auditing Enterprise now belongs to Deloitte who has now snagged three clients from KPMG this year (by our count) – picking up Jefferies and Select Comfort back in March.
Enterprise Bank parent dismisses KPMG [St. Louis Business Journal]
[The] GAO says the SEC ended its fiscal year on Sept. 30 with ineffective internal control over financial reporting, a now recurring theme ince [sic] the SEC was first required in 2002 to submit audited financial statements to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget.
“In connection with our prior audits, GAO has made numerous recommendations to SEC to address the internal control issues that continued to persist during fiscal year 2009,” GAO wrote in its report. The deficiencies that most troubled the government auditor were problems with information security, financial reporting processes, fund balance with the U.S. Treasury, registrant deposits, budgetary resources, and risk assessment and monitoring processes.
The deficiencies add up to a material weakness, GAO said, giving good reason to wonder whether data processed by SEC’s systems are reliable and adequately protected.
SEC Gets Another Material Weakness Finding from GAO [Compliance Week]