KPMG Nixes GE Loaned Tax Staff Engagement

KPMG will no longer loan tax professionals to GE during busy season, according to a source close to the situation. KPMG was billing an extra $8-10 million, over and above the audit each year, for the service. Loaning, assigning, or “seconding” tax or any “bookkeeping” staff to an audit client is prohibited by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act […]

Update: Mortgage Servicer Foreclosure Review Process

I was the first to report on December 6 the irony of Deloitte having been selected by, of all banks, JP Morgan Chase. The high likelihood of a conflict between the bank and the audit firm, and possibly the individual Deloitte partners assigned to the JP Morgan Chase review, should have been obvious to anyone at the OCC. It turns out I was right.

Servicing The Mortgage Industry: An Update

My October 6 column for American Banker was cited by Congresswoman Maxine Waters and others to support the strong management of conflicts of interest by the OCC in the mortgage servicer reviews as well as full disclosure of vendors and their engagement letters with the banks. On November 22, 2011, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) disclosed the names of the consultants, their clients and redacted versions of the engagement letters between the banks and consultants.

Closing In On The Fix For Mortgage Servicer Abuses

My latest column, “Banks Hire Friendlies for ‘Independent’ Foreclosure Reviews”, is on line now at American Banker’s BankThink.

KPMG May Answer For GE Tax Work

Going Concern reported yesterday that KPMG professionals have been ordered to preserve all correspondence and documentation related to the tax “loaned staff” assignment it has with long-time client GE. That means someone – the SEC or PCAOB – is investigating.

The State Of Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance: The Protiviti Survey Results

The results of Protiviti’s survey of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance are out. I like seeing viable alternatives to the Big Four audit firms.

An Honest Services Crisis: Professional Poison and a Chicago Connection

The Big Four, off and on, have had some of the largest global consulting practices across most categories.The larger an organization gets, the more its staff takes on the average characteristics of individuals within the markets it serves. Mark O’Connor of Monadnock Research presents a guest post on the special risks posed by Big 4 audit firms who provide consulting services.

Inside The Mind of An Inside Trader

The SEC has accused one of the most prominent businessmen ever implicated in such crimes, Rajat Gupta, a former McKinsey & Company Global Managing Director, of insider trading. It’s understandable that, in the heat of this moment, some might naïvely compare the consequences of the criminal indictment of an audit firm with civil charges against an individual, albeit one who trades on – pun intended – his association with a prestigious professional services firm. It’s not the same thing.

Update: Auditors and Consulting: Claims Of No Conflict Strain Credibility

Big 4 audit firms are focusing on growth in their global consulting businesses but the conflicts that drove three out of four of the firms in the US to sell them after Enron are a bigger problem than ever before.

Guest Post: Is Assurance Required For XBRL- Based Financial Reporting?

Another in a continuing series on XBRL, an open standard for exchanging business information between systems.

The XBRL Mandate: Opportunities, And Threats, For Non-Big 4 Auditors

In 2011, the vast majority of public companies – those with market caps under $75 million – are required to file their 10-K and 10-Q with the SEC in XBRL for the first time. Is this another mandate translating into more business for the Big 4 or an opportunity for other audit firms to specialize and capitalize? A guest post from Daniel Roberts.

@Forbes: Did Deloitte Compromise Independence in the McClellan Insider Trading Scandal?

Didn’t want to make you wait until Friday for this one.
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