After nearly seven years since the first concept release, the SEC approved the PCAOB's rules for disclosing the names of audit engagement partners and other participating firms. You can read the entire SEC order if you find the securities regulation apparatus fascinating. Personally, I think it's interesting that another round of comments is allowed prior […]
Update below specifies the timing of the rule’s effect. As promised, the PCAOB is dropping its auditor disclosure rule with 9 shopping days left until Christmas. It's been quite a haul as the Board has been working this project since 2008 after the Treasury Department's Advisory Committee on the Accounting Profession recommended that audit partners […]
The PCAOB announced earlier today that it will hold an open meeting next Tuesday to vote on the disclosure rules for naming the audit partner and other accounting firms that participated in the audit. I'm told that it will be a unanimous approval. With that in mind, it's more than a little bit ironic that […]
In an Investor Advisory Group meeting held earlier this week, PCAOB Chairman James Doty said he hoped the third version of the Board's partner naming proposal would be finalized "by the end of the year." That should help the IMA fathom such an "insult to the accounting profession." [CW (Sub. req.)]
In a speech given yesterday, PCAOB Chairman James Doty said that the Board will seek comment on a third proposal for naming the lead audit partner. Doty recounts the journey so far, including the concept release that "consider[ed] engagement partner signature in 2009," the proposal for "mere disclosure" in 2011 that they sought comment on […]
On Friday, Francine McKenna provided a perfect example of what investors could learn about the audit partners for public companies should the PCAOB start requiring the naming of names. Francine, through her sources, was able to confirm that Linda McGowan was the partner for MF Global — something widely known amongst regulators, and lawyers involved […]
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 […]
Today, Bloomberg's Jonathan Weil wrote his fourth column exposing clients of a Big 4 audit firm whose PCAOB inspection report reveals that the audit performed was less than stellar. This time around, JW exposes two clients of PwC's Japanese Affiliate Kyoto Audit Corp.: The report [in full, below] said the board’s staff reviewed the firm’s audits for […]
Back in October, the PCAOB officially proposed that audit partners be required to slap their name on the audit report of clients that register with the SEC. For those inside the profession, this proposal isn't exactly popular, as that would put a specific name and a specific face with audit failures. In other words, no […]
For some time now, the PCAOB has been talking about making audit partners famous (at least to investors that are paying attention) in ways that they aren’t too thrilled about. Earlier today the Board issued a proposal for comment that will do just that.
The proposed amendments would:
• require registered public accounting firms to disclose the name of the engagement partner in the audit report,
• amend the Board’s Annual Report Form to require registered firms to disclos gagement partner for each audit report already required to be reported on the form, and
•require disclosure in the audit report of other accounting firms and certain other participants that took part in the audit.
So if you can consider yourself an astute observer of auditing policy and regs, they’d love to hear your thoughts. However, it would be greatly appreciated if you didn’t take your cues from the FASB letters and kept things constructive.
All of the Board Members made statements, including PCAOB Chairman Jim Doty (full statement on page 2) who sees this latest proposal as good sense:
I fail to see why shareholders in BNP Paribas, listed on the Euronext Paris exchange, should be able to see the name of the engagement partner in the audit report, but shareholders in Citigroup, listed on the New York Stock Exchange should not. Indeed, the names of engagement partners for some European companies that are listed on the NYSE are disclosed in U.S. filings. Why are shareholders in France Telecom to be favored over shareholders in AT&T?
And then there’s Steven Harris’s statement (in full on page 3). Harris, who is known to speak frankly about auditors, finds the proposal okay enough but would really like to see the audit partners’ John Hancocks:
While I support an identification of the engagement partner, I continue to strongly support, and would have preferred, a requirement for the engagement partner to actually sign his or her name on the audit report. My views, which I stated when the Board last publicly discussed the issue in July 2009, have not changed. Very fundamentally, I believe that nothing focuses the mind quite like putting one’s individual signature on a document.
And for good measure, he threw in this:
Many find it ironic that auditing firms in the United States, whose business is providing assurance about the transparency provided by others, resist publicly providing their own financial statements. There is no apparent reason that the auditing firms that act as gatekeepers to our securities markets should not be as transparent to investors as the companies they audit.
If you agree with Mr. Harris and happen to have a copy of your firm’s financial statements, feel free to pass it along. Or if you’d rather not wait to make your thoughts known on the Board’s proposals, you may drop them in the comments below.