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SEC Chief Accountant Wesley Bricker Had Nice Things to Say About Management Accountants

Not that he would really say anything bad about management accountants since he was at the Institute of Management Accountants’ annual conference, but Securities and Exchange Commission Chief Accountant Wesley Bricker threw some bouquets their way during a speech on June 19.

From Accounting Today:

“As management accountants, your work is vital to the financial reporting process,” he said. “You safeguard a company’s integrity when you make well-considered and adequately supported judgments and decisions. As CFOs, controllers, budget analysts, treasurers, and other management accountants, you help drive the information that is ultimately included in many shareholder and creditor communications. These communications, when made with appropriate care and candor, build public trust and help sustain the ability of businesses to raise the capital they need to grow and compete.”

[SHAMELESS PLUG: Learn why some corporate controllers opted to obtain the Certified Management Accountant credential instead of a CPA.]

Bricker also called management accountants “expert historians”:

“Accounting helps others understand the past so that users of accounting information can better understand present circumstances and future possibilities,” said Bricker. … “You provide the critical ‘eyewitness’ account of events and evidence needed to keep and maintain books and records in accordance with the federal securities laws. In accounting and society, we all expect history to be based on evidence and prepared with discipline and diligence so that the historical narrative is reliable.”

After his speech on management accountants, Bricker fielded questions about the revolving door that is the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board:

“I’ve been nothing but consistently supportive of the PCAOB, together with [SEC] Chairman [Jay] Clayton,” he said. “The work of the PCAOB is vital, so as Chair Clayton said we had an opportunity where 80 percent of the board was turning over to assemble a portfolio of skills that collectively at the board level would enable the PCAOB to even further advance its mission, and that was an important set of decisions for the Commission to make in selecting individuals that cover every phase of financial reporting because every phase of financial reporting can impact the quality of audits. That’s where we are. We have the appropriate robust expectations for the PCAOB’s performance to be entirely consistent with their mission.”

The SEC late last year appointed William Duhnke as PCAOB chairman, replacing James Doty who had held that position since January 2011. Also appointed as board members were J. Robert Brown, Kathleen Hamm, James Kaiser, and Duane DesParte, who replaced Steven Harris, Lewis Ferguson, and Jeanette Franzel. Board member Jay Hanson resigned from the PCAOB in December 2016.

And since May, several high-level officials have left the PCAOB, including Martin Baumann, chief auditor and director of professional standards; Helen Munter, director of registration and inspections; and Claudius Modesti, director of the PCAOB’s Division of Enforcement and Investigations.