Can I Have Your Autograph: Signing The Audit Report

When the PCAOB issued a Concept Release in late 2009 on requiring the engagement partner to sign the audit report boy oh boy were there a lot of comments. The firms came out en masse to denounce the proposal.

Reforming Wall Street: State Regulators Cannot Do It Alone – A Speech By Jake Zamansky

In passing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank”), Congress tried — but failed — to make the market fair and more transparent for individual investors. Until the SEC, through its enforcement actions, holds high-ranking corporate executives accountable for their firms’ wrongdoing and ensures that settlement fines do not unjustly harm shareholders, measures to protect investors from Wall Street malfeasance will continue to fall short of the mark. Renowned securities litigator Jake Zamansky spoke recently on these issues to the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) Public Policy Conference.

Taking Your Pulse

The Top Searches these past twenty-four hours. Quite a wide variety and pretty sophisticated…

Lehman: The Razor’s Edge

What really happened at Lehman? The thousands of column inches devoted to trenchant, complex analysis from financial media pundits is a bit more mental masturbation than we need.

September 24-25: McKenna To Speak At West Florida ISACA Chapter

I hope you can join us! Space still available. September 24-25. West Florida (Tampa) ISACA Chapter’s Fall Seminar. I will be leading an extensive program covering several topics for a total of 7+ hours of CPE at the Wyndham Quorum Hotel.

If I Told You I’d Have To Shoot You. Or Lose The Case. Neither Are Good.

In honor of my appearance in front of a room full of lawyers next week at the New York County Lawyers Association event, I thought I would reprint this article about attorney-client privilege. It was originally published on on September 9, 2009

Bank of America (BAC) is in the news again today. The reason is one of my favorite subjects, attorney-client privilege. From the New York Attorney General’s (NYAG) letter to Bank of America’s attorney, Lewis J. Liman…

Guest Post: Subprime Auditing – The Fox In The Chicken Coop

Enjoy this guest post from Mr. Aubrey M. Farb. He’s been a Texas CPA since 1947. Next month he will be 88 years old. He is a survivor of the Battle for Iwo Jima and more than fifty years of accounting industry scandals. I don’t envy him his battle scars from either.

Hey Big 4! My Expectations Are Already Low

Call me incredulous, but the Big 4’s public relations professionals may be on to something. Set the bar low, tell us what the Big 4 can’t do, won’t do, want to make you believe they have no responsibility to do, and maybe everyone will leave them alone. Then they can go back to making money […]

Party Like A VC: It’s Not As Easy As It Looks

Startups, especially on the West Coast, are usually full of folks who’ve been involved in more than one. Sometimes that’s due to success – the company is acquired – and sometimes that’s because of failure. Startup junkies are always moving. The Zynga management team includes several alumni, including their CEO and CFO, of SupportSoft.
SupportSoft’s founder who is the current Zynga CEO, and Zynga’s CFO, have been out of SupportSoft for a while. Within five minutes I knew why. SupportSoft settled a class action law suit in 2007 for $10.7 million that alleged its then-CEO and CFO, Radha Basu and Brian Beattie, violated federal securities laws. They were accused of making false and misleading statements about the reasons for record revenues, resulting in the artificial inflation of the company’s stock price.

Watch Banks Pull Rabbits Out of Hats, Ably Assisted by Their Auditors

The global money center banks are masters at managing financial reporting. Regulators repeatedly feign surprise at balance sheet sleight of hand, prestidigitation at the expert level intended to buy time until the banks can grow out of the black hole that bubble lending put them in. They announce their quarterly results, with all the details – they don’t even try to hide them anymore – and they’re ignored or the con is traded on for short term profits. We’ve yet to see the auditors called to testify to explain their role in blessing fraudulent bank balance sheet accounting.

Isn’t it about time?

Best Book Read (So Far) in 2010 According to Paul Kedrosky

Just for fun, fellow blogger and Twitter-aficionado Paul Kedrosky asked on the Twitter what people thought was the best book they had read so far of 2010. Here are some responses – perhaps a few ideas for your summer reading.

What A Tangled Web We Weave: AIG’s Cassano Says He Told PwC Everything

Joseph Cassano, the former head of AIG’s Financial Products Group, testified for the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. PricewaterhouseCoopers has been playing consigliere to AIG for many, many years and continues to be allowed to act as their “independent” auditor in spite of the fact that they have been sued by AIG’s shareholders and are now turning their own partners against their client in court.

If PwC was informed about Cassano’s activities, then perhaps the SEC, the PCAOB and Department of Justice should finally turn their attention towards the audit firm. PwC has $312 million reasons to go along with the charade of independence.