September 19, 2018

Auditors

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Federal Judge Strikes Down Ex-KPMG Partners’ Request for SEC Evidence Search

If you’re dying to know what’s going on with David Britt, David Middendorf, and Thomas Whittle, the former KPMG partners who are accused of participating in a scandal in which confidential Public Company Accounting Oversight Board inspection information was leaked to the accounting firm, Law360 has an update: A group of former and would-be KPMG auditors […]

Another Former KPMG Employee Gets Into Trouble for Insider Trading

You can add Daniel Senn to the list of current and not-so-current KPMG employees and representatives, such as Scott London, Andrei Postrado, Thomas Avent, and Phil Mickelson (but not his KPMG hat), who have either been accused of, or found guilty of, insider trading. Senn, a Klynveldian auditor from 2007 to 2013, was convicted of […]

Deloitte Gobbled Up the Most New SEC Audit Clients in Q2; EY and KPMG Threw Up a Bunch of Clients

After two Utah-based firms you might not have ever heard of picked up the most new Securities and Exchange Commission audit clients in the first quarter of 2018, Deloitte was the big winner in the second quarter, snagging 15 new engagements, with a net of 13, according to Accounting Today. BDO USA was the runner-up […]

Setback in Court For Ex-KPMG Execs, As Judge Refuses to Toss Out Counts in PCAOB Inspection Info Leak Case

As Mick Jagger sings, “You can’t always get what you want.” What three former top KPMG executives and two former employees of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board—who are accused of participating in a scheme in which confidential PCAOB inspection information was shared with the accounting firm—wanted was for their conspiracy and wire fraud counts […]

KPMG Used Confidential Inspection Info to Snatch BBVA Away From Rivals, Report Says

If you missed this late last week, Francine McKenna of MarketWatch detailed how KPMG used access to confidential Public Company Accounting Oversight Board inspection information to poach a client from its Big 4 rivals. The client, Spanish bank BBVA, was one of nearly a dozen KPMG clients caught up in the audit inspection scandal. Others […]

Report: Court Documents Name KPMG Audit Clients Caught Up in PCAOB Leak Fiasco

MarketWatch reporter and friend of Going Concern’s, Francine McKenna, wrote an outstanding article today after digging through court documents obtained by MarketWatch that name the audit clients caught up in the KPMG audit inspection conspiracy. And there are some pretty big names. The Justice Department in January brought criminal charges against five former KPMG executives […]

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Clearly Not Everyone at KPMG Got the Memo About the ‘Raise-Your-Hand Culture’ at the Firm

Photo: A higher proportion of hand raising than at KPMG.

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Foreign Affiliates of Big Audit Firms Screwed Up Some Stuff

The Securities and Exchange Commission fined foreign affiliates of BDO, Deloitte, and KPMG for skirting oversight of the PCAOB. Here’s the skinny: According to the SEC’s orders, the Zimbabwe affiliates of Deloitte & Touche and KPMG improperly audited the majority of assets and revenues of a publicly traded company without registering with the PCAOB. The […]

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Deloitte Agrees to Fork Over $149.5 Million for Its Crappy Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Audits

The Justice Department announced that Deloitte would pay a $149.5 million fine to put “potential False Claims Act liability” to bed for its role as the auditor of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp., the failed mortgage originator. Justice alleged that “Deloitte’s audits knowingly deviated from applicable auditing standards and therefore failed to detect TBW’s […]

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All the Gory Details From the Indictment of Former KPMG Partners

If you’re not one of the six accountants who was criminally or civilly charged today, then you’re having a good Monday. And if you’re still not convinced, let’s peruse the details from the criminal indictment so you can feel better about yourself. The allegations paint a pretty sad picture of some prominent audit professionals at […]

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Former KPMG Employees Learn That Using Confidential PCAOB Inspection Info Has Its Drawbacks

Six former employees of KPMG have been arrested and charged “with conspiring to defraud securities regulators and misuse of confidential auditing information.” These charges stem from the leak of confidential PCAOB inspection information that we learned about last year. The Securities and Exchange Commission also filed civil charges in a parallel action. The 54-page indictment lists […]

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Grant Thornton Gets Dinged for Giving Partners with Audit Quality Issues More Work

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has announced a big settlement with Grant Thornton over quality control violations and audit failures. The firm was censured and agreed to pay a $1.5 million civil penalty. The quality control violations related to the assignment of two Philadelphia-based partners to audits in 2013 when they had been cited […]

pcaob inspection reports

PCAOB Inspection Reports Have Been MIA Lately

Here’s something odd that was brought to our attention: @going_concern @PCAOB Why has the PCAOB not posted an inspection report on their website since July? pic.twitter.com/nMZzKFEB0q — Know Your Audience (@csilvey) December 1, 2017 Sure enough, if you cruise the PCAOB’s Firm Inspection Reports page, you’ll find that the last report was for Crowe Horwath’s […]

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#AuditorProud Day Hits the Trifecta

Has it been a year already? The third annual #AuditorProud Day is upon us and it’s building momentum. Last year, 115 countries participated posting over 14,000 tweets and 4,000 Instagram photos. Kiwis got into the act early: Happy #AuditorProud Day! Auditors instil trust and confidence & have indispensable role in capital market system #CAANZ @chartered_accts […]

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Former PwC Employee Latest Star of “Auditor Mishandles Sensitive Client Information”

I haven’t been a Big 4 auditor in quite some time, which means I haven’t taken any training on handling sensitive client information in quite some time. However, my keen sense of self-preservation tells me that if I were in possession of sensitive client information, the kind of information about, say, an upcoming acquisition, I […]

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Six KPMG Employees Fired After Leak of PCAOB Inspection Info

Updates to report that individuals were terminated appear throughout. Welp, this looks bad. The Wall Street Journal reports that six KPMG employees, including four partners and the firm’s head of audit, have been fired after a PCAOB employee leaked confidential inspection details to the firm. The departing KPMG employees include four partners and Scott Marcello, […]

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Robot Auditors Won’t Have a Problem Giving Clients Bad News

Here’s something that won’t surprise anyone: A study from the University of Missouri found that auditors defer to information provided by management. In the study, nearly 50 senior auditors from major accounting firms were asked to assess the cost of an explosion at a client’s facility based on memos provided by the company’s finance chief. […]

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PCAOB Sanctions Former PwC Brazil Partner for Lousy Auditing

You may have noticed, maybe not, but PwC is in the midst of a bad publicity streak. Last month, one partner screwed up the hand-off of the Best Picture envelope at the Oscars while the other partner froze. A few days later, federal agents raided Caterpillar’s headquarters over its offshore tax practices that PwC helped […]

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Man, This EY Auditor Made Some Bad Choices

Today in consequences of career limiting moves, a former EY auditor settled charges with the SEC that he traded on insider information about a merger of a client that he was staffed on. Now, I know you’re thinking, “Wow, that was dumb.” And yes, that was incredibly bad decision on the part of Nima Hedayati, […]

Big 4 Auditors Are Probably Looking Forward to More Amiable PCAOB

Michael Rapoport reports in the Wall Street Journal on the waning James Doty era at the PCAOB and that he will probably exit with unfinished business: Mr. Doty, chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, may only have months left to pursue his wish list, including a change that would require auditors to tell […]

PCAOB Inspectors Find IT Auditors on the Struggle Bus

In case you missed the news earlier this month, all of the PCAOB reports are out for the Big 4's 2015 cycle of inspections. What schadenfreude awaits us? Let’s take a look. Big picture — regarding overall deficiency rate — PwC is the winner this year. Even if PwC is only slightly ahead, the firm […]

Deloitte’s Dutch Firm Takes Its Turn With PCAOB

The PCAOB has announced another settlement with a Deloitte firm today, this time the Dutch version. This relates to an independence snafu that happened back in May of 2012 when the new CEO, Piet Hein Meeter, resigned abruptly, after serving in that role for just a few months. Here's Michael Rapoport's report in the Wall […]

For Once, a Burned Out Auditor Wrote an Honest Answer to a Stupid Question

A large part of any accountant’s job is to write boring answers to boring questions. Most people meet an accountant and think, “Oh, you’re good with numbers,” and while that’s a safe assumption, what really lurks underneath is a masterful chronicler of complex rules in the most banal language possible.

The Trump Administration Will Drain the PCAOB Swamp

The election of Donald Trump is likely to transform the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). While the PCAOB is technically a non-partisan private regulator, it will not likely escape Trump’s commitment to drain the swamp. Jim Doty’s term as PCAOB chairman expired in October of 2015. The PCAOB chairman is nominated by the SEC […]

Elizabeth Warren Has Questions for KPMG Re: Wells Fargo

Last month we wondered aloud if KPMG would get dragged into this Wells Fargo kerfuffle. It took awhile, but it appears that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has some fire leftover from her roasting of former Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf for the bank's auditor, KPMG:

EY Thought the Weatherford Audit Could Turn Out Badly; It Turned Out Badly

I'm not sure if there's a pattern or not, but it sure seems like the Big 4 take turns being the poster child of sloppy auditing. Sometimes the stretch is long and sometimes it's short, but it's inevitable that something blows up and one firm will be back on top as the King of Failed […]

EY Runs Afoul of Auditor Independence Rules Thanks to Sporting Events, Office Romance

One of the keys to being a successful partner in a large accounting firm is client management. If you’re a tax or advisory partner, this is pretty simple: you wine, you dine, you do the work with a smile on your face. The client is happy. You are a good partner. Audit partners don’t have […]

KPMG Drops an Annoying, Dysfunctional, Possibly Corrupt Client

An editorial from the Orlando Sun-Sentinel has some wonderful details about the fallout between KPMG and Broward Health, one of the largest health systems in the country. Broward announced on Monday that KPMG was resigning as auditor. This came about, according to the Broward chairman, due to a misunderstanding: In a Friday letter to the […]

Hopefully a PwC Employee Doesn’t Get in Trouble for Leaving Their Work Lying Around

Here's a doozy. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that PPG Industries may sell its flat glass business to Mexico-based Vitro, SAB de C.V. This according to "a document obtained by" the paper: A PPG spokesman this afternoon declined to comment on a possible sale, which is mentioned in an undated reference contained in a draft copy […]

Swiss Regulator Investigating Whether KPMG’s Audit of FIFA Is Worth Investigating

Well, this is something? Switzerland's Federal Audit Oversight Authority ("FAOA") will be kicking the tires on KPMG's audit of corruption factory/sports organization FIFA. "The FAOA is monitoring developments related to FIFA, and has selected for evaluation aspects of KPMG's work in connection with the auditing of the financial statements of FIFA," the FAOA, which helps […]

EY Auditor Is the Subject of Affection in Craigslist Missed Connection

Unless you're dead on the inside, you've been infatuated with someone at work. Maybe it's someone on your team, maybe it's a client, maybe it's your boss. Regardless, people have various ways of dealing with this unreasonable love and one of the best ways is Craiglist Missed Connections!  We've covered accountant-related missed connections for years […]

PwC Is in the Midst of a Independence Quagmire

Independence: its complicated. Except it isn’t, really. Audits firms are conflicted because they’re paid by the organizations who they’re supposed to be independent of audit clients. Most people, I think, know this yet choose to ignore it. Fine.

Partner Names: Coming to an Audit Near You in 2017

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 […]

PCAOB: Just Stop Altering Audit Workpapers Already

Are you an auditor? Do you have any public company clients? Have you recently been notified that the PCAOB will be inspecing the audit of one of those public company clients? Are you now just remembering that you may have left something out of the audit documentation that would definitely get you in trouble with […]

Government Audits Turn Up Some Scary Stuff

In 2016, government auditors in Washington state discovered $420,300 in unemployment benefits paid out to prisoners. Prisoners, by the way, are ineligible for unemployment benefits. It feels like an episode of Orange is the New Black (another quality show I've been binge-watching in my spare time), but as far as I know, it's still just […]

What Auditors Ought to Know About the Internet of Things

Whenever I think about the Internet of Things ("IoT"), my mind jumps to a Disney original movie from 1999 called Smart House. If you haven’t seen it (no real surprise), here’s a clip. Fast forward less than two decades and “smart” technology is ubiquitous. As of 2013, there were more internet connected devices than people […]

SEC in No Rush to Make a Decision on PCAOB Chair

SEC Chair Mary Jo White said that she'll wait until two new commissioners are appointed before deciding on whether James Doty will remain the head of the PCAOB. Currently, the SEC only has three commissioners after Dan Gallagher and Luis Aguilar both left last year. But how long do we have to wait?! That all […]

#TBT: Auditors Cringe While Watching Office Space

In honor of throwback Thursday let me take you on a journey down memory lane to reminisce about Office Space, a light hearted and irreverent comedy starring Ron Livingston and Jennifer Aniston. Spoiler alert! (Actually, if you haven’t seen the movie during the last 17 years I don’t feel bad.) Peter, played by Ron Livingston, […]

Auditors Sing The Legacy System Blues

Ed. note: Today we debut a new contributor to Going Concern. Megan Lewczyk, CPA (pronounced left without the “t” and "chick" like a baby bird) is a Big 4 alumna who decided to venture off the beaten path early in her career. She owns a consulting firm, is an adjunct accounting instructor for a couple […]

Big 4 Firms Still Getting Used to This Whole Regulation Thing

Sometimes I get the impression that the Big 4 don’t fully appreciate what the PCAOB is supposed to do as a regulator. Now, please don’t confuse “appreciate” with “like.” The Reuters report from yesterday makes it perfectly clear that the firms don’t like what the PCAOB does at all. What’s become obvious, though, is that […]

PCAOB Member Wants a Closer Look at Tax Services and Auditor Independence

Last week the PCAOB approved its 2016 budget and also its "strategic plan" through 2019. That might sound like a more potent sleeping aid than tryptophan, but sometimes board members say interesting bits worth sharing and, today, we have some for you. Each of the board members made pretty benign statements — quibbles about the […]

Auditors, PCAOB Earn Attaboys From SEC Chief Accountant

SEC Chief Accountant James Schnurr says that, although "there's room for improvement" audit quality "is getting better" and the PCAOB has "deepened their expertise" and "their inspection process has matured." This explains why we've seen more deficiencies, he says. I'm sure KPMG appreciates the vote of confidence. [AT]

Some Audit Committee Members Just Ignoring Auditors Now

As you've probably heard by now, the definition of materiality is up for debate. Back in September, the FASB said they'd like to go with the Supreme Court's definition and investor advocates think that's a terrible idea. Businesses claim that disclosure overload is making everything less informative and and some scholarship agrees. The latest in […]

BDO Spain Took a Siesta on Some PCAOB Paperwork

Audit firms still seem to be getting used to having a regulator that watches their every move. Or failure to move in the case of BDO Auditores, SLP (aka "BDO Spain"). [T]he Firm became a respondent in two separate disciplinary proceedings initiated by the Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoria de Cuentas ("ICAC"), the foreign auditor […]

Company Loses Bad Auditor; Disaster Ensues

When a company changes their auditors, it can be a bit of a headache. As inconvenient as it can be, I've never heard a company express despair over it until I read this 8-K from Nano Labs Corp. Their auditor was none other than Terry Johnson, the Florida CPA who didn't audit much for his […]

BDO Shouldn’t Have Blown This Audit

This SEC Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Order against BDO will be the best thing you read today. That is, if you enjoy reading about audit firms issuing an unqualified opinion when they absolutely had no business issuing an unqualified opinion. That is the case with the story of BDO's 2009 audit of General Employment Enterprises, […]

PwC Out of the Running for This Year’s “Worst Performance By a Big 4 Audit Firm”

The PCAOB, bless their hearts, released a forgettable inspection report from PwC today. The deficiency rate, 29%, is still in the range we're used to, but was lower than last year, so that's something. Michael Rapoport reports that this deficiency rate is better than EY's (36%) but not as good as Deloitte's (21%) and that […]

Dot VN, Inc. and PLS CPA: A Love Story in One 8-K

Like that miserable couple you know that have been together far too long, here's a, seemingly, dramatic auditor/client interlude, starting with an auditor walking out after years of neglect: On October 13, 2014, the Company was notified by PLS CPA, a Professional Corp. (“PLS”) that the firm resigned as the Company’s independent registered public accounting […]

Deloitte Survey: Auditors’ Use of Technology Does Not Impress

A Deloitte survey of financial executives, financial statement users and audit committee members found that an overwhelming majority — 84%, 70% and 76% respectively — of these people, "believe auditors should use advanced technologies more extensively in performing an audit." Apparently, 21st century auditing is still a few years off. [WSJ] Image: Gnangarra/WIkimedia Commons

PCAOB Going with Plan C for Naming Audit Partners

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 […]

Pope Figured The Lord’s Work Could Use a Good Auditor

Here's one way to stay out of hell:  The Vatican appointed its first auditor-general on Friday in Pope Francis' latest move aimed at ensuring transparency in the scandal-plagued finances at the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.   A statement said the pope, who has made cleaning up finances a major plank of his papacy, […]

Lawyer: KPMG Not Much of a Keeper in FIFA Scandal

Francine McKenna gets in on KPMG’s flop as FIFA auditor today, and Jerry Silk, a lawyer who has represented investors in lawsuits against Big 4 firms, suggests that the firm may have been ball watching:  “With all the prior allegations of corruption and bribery leveled against FIFA and some of its member associations over the […]

Did KPMG Flop as FIFA’s Auditor?

The FIFA scandal is increasingly ridiculous as was so deftly shown by John Oliver last night. But now a Big 4 firm appears to be caught in the tentacles of it, which further demonstrates its depth and reach. A tipster dropped us a link to very interesting post from Matt Scott, a journalist who has […]

#FBF: The Time Bernie Madoff’s CFO Fooled a KPMG Auditor With a Refrigerated Trade Ledger

The Madoff scandal crept back into the news recently, as Frank DiPascali, a key figure in the both the Ponzi scheme and the trial his of former associates, died of lung cancer last week. Since speaking ill of the dead is typically frowned upon, it makes sense to pick on an auditor instead.  Lucky for […]

Yep, Auditor Independence Is Still a Joke

People like getting worked up about auditor independence. For firms, it's a badge of honor. They like pointing to it as a virtue of their business. You know — objectivity, integrity, all that crap.  For audit firm critics, picking a fight over independence is easy. All anyone has to say is, "Audit firms are paid by […]

SEC Didn’t Appreciate McGladrey Partner’s Lack of Attention to Detail

Here's a story of hedge fund of fund guys doing hedge fund of fund guy things — onshore fund, offshore fund, master fund, an investment advisor, along with a couple other affiliated companies — and not being very good at some of the finer points: An SEC investigation found that Alpha Titans LLC, its principal […]

Senators Taking Another Crack at Making PCAOB Proceedings Public

Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced a bill in 2011 that would make PCAOB disciplinary proceedings public. Like many bills in this political climate, it went precisely nowhere. Reed and Grassley, not unfamiliar with the excruciating pace of the legislative process, are gonna try to get some momentum behind this idea again […]

PwC Disappointed That Former Partners Going to Jail for Satyam Fraud

An addendum to the Bloomberg article on the Satyam executives' sentencing we linked to earlier: the former PwC partners involved, S. Gopalakrishnan and Srinivas Talluri, were in the group of ten that were found guilty and sentenced to 7 years in prison as well. PwC is a little sad about this outcome: "As we have said many […]

TIL: Ancient Greeks Used Slaves as Auditors So They Could Be Beaten When They Screwed Up

I've had Jacob Soll's book The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations sitting in my bag forever, always intending to go up on the rooftop deck on a nice summer day with a cigar and a few beers to finish reading it. Of course, that never happens (usually because I drink […]

Spain Can’t Seem to Locate Missing Auditor Before Court Date

I smell a Ken Lay coming on here: Spain's High Court said on Thursday the judge investigating the collapse of wireless networks provider Gowex had issued a search and detain warrant for the company's auditor, who had gone missing. Antonio Diaz Villanueva, from small firm M&A Auditores, is due to testify in court on Friday […]

PwC Defends Itself Against “Baseless” MF Global Suit Using MF Global’s Own Stupidity

PwC was recently dealt a blow when U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero stated: “[u]nder PwC’s reasoning, the in pari delicto doctrine would insulate an auditor from liability whenever a company pursues a failed investment strategy after receiving wrongful advice from an accountant. Such a broad reading of the doctrine would effectively put an end to […]

Miserable Auditor Warns Those Who Wish to Follow Him

The Going Concern tip box is a dumping ground for information of great consequence and trifling tidbits; advice solicitations and fond (or not so fond) farewells; rants and raves. And every so often we get messages that seek to provoke existential questions to those who seek to follow in their footsteps. Like this one:    […]

PwC Auditor Retiring at 26 to Follow His Passion for Sports (and an MBA) Left a Farewell Press Release

Perhaps it is not a coincidence that the bro who abandoned his Deloitte bros for KPMG and the following bro from PwC both work in the Washington Metro; sports-themed farewells may officially be a thing now. Whether or not it's a trend, it sure beats past farewell emails we've seen that go on for days […]

Petty Thieves Being Mistaken for Big 4 Auditors Now

If there's one thing clients can't stand, it's a pesky auditor. They're always asking stupid questions, rummaging through the supply closet, drinking all free beverages. God, they're the worst.   Be that as it may, auditors are people too and it's unfortunate that we would receive a tip like this one from a Big 4 […]

The Big 4’s Spurious Independence in One Chart

Mark O'Connor of Monadnock Research wrote an epic post over at re:The Auditors yesterday on the Big 4's advisory performance for 2013 and the resulting "conflict metrics." The whole post is worth a read but this chart sums things up well.                                […]

Someone Made a Life in Audit Remix of Lorde’s “Royals”

I can't really say how this compares to the original on which it's based because obviously I don't listen to the likes of Lorde but I do know she is like a young version of Grace of Will & Grace in purple lipstick and that some people are upset her boyfriend is skinny and not […]

Is There an Auditor Exodus in the Works Or Is It Just Business as Usual in the Big 4?

Finally, a somewhat challenging "question" has found its way into the tip box: Hello Going Concern! I am writing to you because I have come to the realization that there is a bubble forming and it is on the brink of erupting, and no I am not talking about the internet bubble–I am talking about […]

New Audit Associate Looking For Prank Ideas, Possibly a New Job in Near Future

Oh, man. Are we going to go here? I think we are. From the suggestion box: Can we have a post where folks can share their best auditing related pranks? I'm a new associate and want to pull something memorable on my team. When talking audit pranks, the most well-known and widely used prank is […]

Auditor Musical Chairs a Little More Lively in 2013

We tracked over 1,000 auditor changes so far in 2013, compared to around 900 for all of 2012. #auditorchanges — Audit Analytics (@AuditAnalytics) November 8, 2013

EY Tops Big 4 Las Vegas Firms in Hindering Its Advisory Business Growth

In this day and age of professional service firm trends, it's strange to see an announcement that highlights the audit business in the lead paragraph:  [On Monday] Ernst & Young LLP’s Las Vegas office celebrates its 10th anniversary. Since its opening here in 2003, it has become the nation’s largest fully integrated gaming and hospitality practice, […]

The PCAOB’s Disciplinary Action Against Deloitte Is the Latest Embarrassment for the Auditing Profession

Late yesterday we learned about the latest wrist slap coming from the PCAOB for an audit firm. Deloitte was fined $2 million for allowing a suspended partner, Christopher Anderson, "to become an 'associated person' of Deloitte during the period of the suspension."  I could go on but it's quite simple: there's nothing to like about this […]

Deloitte Fined $2M for Allowing Suspended Audit Partner to Keep on Auditing

Accounting giant Deloitte & Touche will pay a $2 million penalty to settle civil charges that it allowed a suspended auditor to continue working in the firm's public company audit practice, the U.S. audit watchdog said Tuesday. The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the body that polices auditors, said the fine matches a record penalty imposed […]

Ernst & Young, Living in Denial, Settles with Lehman Investors for $99 Million

This is rich. Michael Rapoport reports: Ernst & Young LLP has agreed to pay $99 million to settle investor class-action allegations that it turned a blind eye when its audit client Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. misled investors before the investment bank's 2008 collapse. The investors and Ernst "have reached an agreement in principle" to settle the […]

CAQ’s Audit Committee Explainer Is a Perfect Commercial Filler for Your Saturday Morning Cartoon Lineup

According to CAQ's YouTube page, this was posted back on July 30 (SOX's birthday, no less) but was tweeted earlier this afternoon so we figured it was worth sharing: 

Herbalife Director Confident in PwC’s Audit; Others, Not So Much

This is fun. Here's what Herbalife Director Jeff Dunn, who's not a member of the company's audit committee, told Bloomberg about the current state of the re-audits: “I have nothing that suggests anything’s going to come out of the audit,” Dunn said yesterday in a telephone interview. “We view it as an opportunity because now […]

KPMG Auditors with Federal Clients Affected By Shutdown Urged to Keep Busy, Take a Little Vacay (But Only as a Last Resort)

As you all know, our government is kaput for the foreseeable future and since all of the Big 4 and many other DC-area firms serve the federal government, it stands to reason that a few of you might not have a lot to do today.    Last night, we were forwarded the text of an […]

More PCAOB Comment Letters Need to Complain About the Issuer-pay Model

If you're like us, you've been anxiously awaiting comment letters on the PCAOB's auditor reporting model proposal. There's nothing better than self-righteous firms penning letters filled with thinly-veiled condescension. Plus, the U.S. Chamber owes us all an honest effort after phoning in their initial response.    So far none of the major accounting firms, the AICPA, CAQ, […]

Just in Time for the Holidays: A PCAOB Auditor ID Proposal

Auditors are traditionally quiet participants in a company’s final annual report, signing their firm’s name on a form letter with a simple pass or fail grade. But a push to gain more insight into their process is growing globally, meeting demands for more disclosure from both regulators and investors. The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the […]

Early Odds Point to EY as Twitter’s Auditor

We're sure some of you know who the firm is already, but there's nothing out there yet so we'll refrain from calling it official. But! Audit Analytics has some stats on the 248 IPOs since April 2012 that show EY is a big favorite among EGCs since the JOBS Act was passed:  Since April 2012, […]

Ex-Deloitte Partner Learns That Procrastination Has Its Consequences

All humans procrastinate from time to time. Whether it's putting off washing the car or feeding the kids, we simply can't get to everything. I mean, who can? As indentured servants to the capital markets, you are all too familiar with this dilemma. The to-do list grows long quite quickly and it's difficult to prioritize. […]

Auditor Market Share for IPOs Offers More Than Enough Consolation for Ernst & Young

Remember this chart from last month? #CPA link: Mo' Money, Mo' Problems: Faulty Big Four audits climb (along with their fees) http://t.co/M57S1ovtX9 pic.twitter.com/4wHa1xmQ9h — Rick Telberg (@CPA_Trendlines) August 15, 2013 Yep, the one where EY!'s deficient audits blast off like rockets into Syria. It's the kind of info that doesn't make any of the new EY! […]

PwC and KPMG Inspection Reports Make Us Wonder: Are Shoddy Big 4 Audits Here to Stay?

Have we mentioned how much we enjoy the PCAOB releasing inspection reports and/or making big announcements the week leading up to a major holiday? No? Oh yes, it's right up there with root canals and saddle sores. But it's their labor of love so we'll share the news with you. Today, the Board released the 2012 […]

To Whom It May Going Concern: ‘If Going Concern were to go public, who would you pick as your auditor?’

As we may have mentioned, we get bombarded with a number of strange questions. Either most of you have been enjoying summer because things have been relatively mundane or we've been relatively uninspired by the barrage of tips, suggestions, and inquiries, because TWIMGC hasn't appeared for a while. This seems like a good enough of […]

Auditors of Broker-Dealers Are Letting Us All Down

COME ON, YOU GUYS. You're making EY look really good and that is no small feat. Here's what PCAOB Member Jay Hanson had to say during the call with reporters about the Board's second progress report on interim inspection program for broker and dealer auditors:  “The number of firms and audits inspected are greater than […]

Deloitte UK Boss Not Sure What You Were Expecting From That RBS Audit

Deloitte UK CEO David Sproul has been all over the British press for his remarks that politicians are hurting the country's economy by "trying to force companies to pay their fair share of tax." While it's true that politicians have an uncanny knack for getting in the way of all kinds of things, it's also […]

Here’s What You Need to Know About the PCAOB’s Proposed Makeover to the Auditor’s Report

This morning the PCAOB held their open meeting to discuss "Proposed Auditing Standards Regarding the Auditor’s Report and the Auditor’s Responsibilities Regarding Other Information." PCAOB Chairman James Doty called it a "watershed moment for the auditing in the United States." And yeah, I suppose it is. I mean, the auditor's opinion hasn't changed in 70 […]

Ernst & Young’s PCAOB Inspection Report Results Managed to Get Much Worse

Just yesterday we ran down the 2011 performance of the eight largest public accounting firms in this fair land. And just as soon as people were starting to get their knickers in a twist, the PCAOB released its 2012 inspection report for the firm formerly known as Ernst & Young. And yes, the firm's error […]

HSBC Dumping KPMG for PwC as Auditor

Alright, alright, alright. We knew this was possible. Let's try to keep things civil. HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA), Europe’s largest bank, appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as auditor, dropping KPMG LLP after more than two decades. PwC will audit the 2015 fiscal year for the lender, subject to approval from shareholders at the bank’s annual meeting in May, […]

Ernst & Young Lost a Lot of Audit Clients Last Quarter

I suppose "a lot" is a relative term, but I think most people would agree that to lose, on average, more than one client per week constitutes "a lot."

Unilever CFO Tries to Let PwC Go Gently

Jean-Marc Huet, the company's chief financial officer, said: "Our business is very large in scale and reach, with operations in over a hundred countries. "The challenge that this poses for our auditors has been successfully met by PricewaterhouseCoopers over many years and we have always been impressed with the rigour and quality of their audit. "However, given […]

PwC’s Head of Assurance Is Gonna Try Something New

Tim Ryan, who has led PwC's Assurance practice for the last four years is taking on a new role in firm as US Markets, Strategy, and Stakeholders Leader and Vin Colman, the East Region Vice Chair will take his place.    We obtained a copy of the email Mr. Ryan sent to PwC Assurance staff […]

China Ready to Turn Over Audit Workpapers for Some Company at Some Point

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has been struggling to obtain papers from China to investigate possible accounting fraud at dozens of Chinese companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges. China has resisted for years turning over documents because of state-secrets and sovereignty concerns. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) is now ready to transfer audit papers […]

Yes, the House Bill That Bans Auditor Rotation Is Terrible But There May Be an Upside

As you know, yesterday the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1564, the Audit Integrity and Job Protection Act, with bipartisan support, 321-62. The charge was led by the bill's co-sponsors, Rep. Robert Hurt (R-VA) and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY). Here's an enthusiastic statement from Rep. Hurt via Accounting Today:

What’s in a (Big 4 Partner’s) Name? Maybe a Lot

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 […]

Ernst & Young Latest Big 4 Firm to Have Part II of PCAOB Inspection Report Released

Okay, remind me — there's a saying about "three" and "trend" or "pattern" or something? Forget it, not important. What is important — at least we've made the argument that it is — is that the PCAOB released Part II of Ernst & Young's 2009 inspection report. That makes three out of four Big 4 […]

The SEC Manages to Get Softer on Big 4 Audit Firms

Incredibly, the SEC has done something I didn't think was possible. It has, in its implicit blessing of Herbalife's selection of PwC as auditor, given the Big 4 and other audit firms more leverage in future debates over independence with regard to past non-audit services. And the last thing the Big 4 needs is more […]

(UPDATE) In Becoming Herbalife’s Auditor, PwC Does a Dicey Independence Dance

~ See update below It seems fitting that PwC would replace KPMG as Herbalife's auditor, doesn't it?  On May 21, 2013, the Audit Committee of the Company’s Board of Directors engaged PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC”) to serve as its new independent registered public accounting firm to audit the Company’s financial statements for its fiscal year ending […]

City of Los Angeles Blames Technology, Retired Auditors for Missing $43 Million

Officials in cash-strapped Los Angeles have uncovered almost $43 million that was just sitting in a Department of Transportation account unbeknownst to the city, prompting them to wonder if there's more magic money stashed away: The discovery of $42.6 million will be a welcome one-time infusion into next year's budget, officials said, but has left […]

Guest Post: The PCAOB Is Our Parents Now

Ed. note: The following was written exclusively for Going Concern by a Big 4 auditor who wished to remain anonymous. 

The PCAOB is turning into our parents. Or at least they are using the same tactics in handing out punishment. “We know you were up to no good last night, so if you just tell us what you did we’ll take that into consideration when deciding how long to ground you.”

Herbalife’s Surprise Be-Our-New-Audit-Firm Sweepstakes Will Have a Winner Soon

Herbalife Ltd. is making progress in its search for a new accounting firm, executives said during a conference call with analysts Tuesday. The Los Angeles nutritional products company was forced to hire a new accounting firm after KPMG resigned earlier this month because one of its senior partners was accused of insider trading in Herbalife stock. The […]