“Innovation demands risk-taking… which, in turn, entails redefining failure, stripping away its power to inhibit.” Chairman and CEO of KPMG Lynne Doughtie
Jeff Bezos has bigger problems than the Queens pull-out and criticism of Amazon’s taxes. He may want to wipe that smug look off his face. Photo from Forbes. Amazon backed out of its selection of Queens, NY as a location for a new headquarters this week. It was a big story, revolving around new […]
Would investors still pay for an audit if it weren’t legally mandated? Are regulators and exchanges perpetuating a government-mandated oligopolistic exclusive franchise for the Big 4 and a few additional firms that produces information investors now ignore?
A wrap-up of my writing in 2018 on three topics I’d been following that reached a climax last year — Theranos, FDIC v. PwC and KPMG/PCAOB inspection data theft— and three more where my reporting resulted in a legal or regulatory impact on the companies—ADT, Symantec, and IGC.
KPMG partner Thomas Whittle broke ranks on October 29 and pleaded guilty to all five criminal charges. He is now cooperating with prosecutors. Do you have more information about this case? Leave a comment here, one I can leave unposted, if you wish to communicate confidentially or DM me on Twitter @retheauditors for Signal encrypted confidential messaging instructions.
Looks like the Theranos investors decided that audits are worthless, even if the cost is some “immaterial to them” fraud losses.
I’ve been coaching my colleagues on how to spot updates and interesting anecdotes about revenue recognition during the second quarter earnings season. Now we are catching up on the Qs filed and comparing disclosures after concentrating on what was said in earnings releases and calls.
Once I returned from my Stigler Center fellowship I got to work catching up on the new standard, talking to experts everywhere and working with Audit Analytics to come up with the data to support stories–by my and my colleagues–about companies and their response to the new standard. My goal was to pick some of the obscure topics that were unique or focused on a specific industry.
The last time anyone attempted to “modernize” auditor independence rules it was the Securities and Exchange Commission, in 2000, before the Enron failure and Arthur Andersen’s demise, as a result of the growing concern that firms increasing focus on consulting was distracting them for their core purpose, auditing. The Big Four firms are now opportunistically lobbying to go back in time, before Enron, when the industry was self-regulated and mostly left alone, able to have as many conflicts of interest as their powerful public clients would allow.
Why did they do it? The WSJ walks around the question but KPMG may face big fines and, I think, its partners and the PCAOB professional could face criminal charges.
The KPMG/PCAOB scandal is neither the first or last time a Big 4 firm reminded us that there’s nothing special anymore about being a Big 4 firm professional The firms, and their partners, are not capitalist eunuchs, immune from perverse incentives that advocates for free markets say, if big enough, can corrupt anyone.
My MarketWatch colleague Andrea Riquier took a field trip to Indiana earlier this year on a tip about a group that helps people struggling to get their act together and prepare for home ownership. It’s a nice thing to see, given all the ongoing struggles many still have with jobs, finances and the challenges of this economy, especially in the heartland.