Skip to main content

If the Big Four accounting firms—Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PwC—thought having to beat a hasty retreat from Russia was going to be the worst thing to happen to them this month, we have bad news: They’ve caught the attention of Securities and Exchange Commission chief Gary Gensler, who may have charged his enforcement chief with finding enough incriminating shit on them to justify following the U.K.’s and European Union’s lead in insisting on a modicum of independence of audit from consulting, et. al., with a bit more than the current U.S. standard of simply asking for it.

About 47 companies in the S&P 500 index paid significant nonaudit fees to firms hired to test their accounting practices…. In the current investigation, the SEC has asked audit firms to disclose instances to regulators in which the firms provided services such as consulting, tax advice, and lobbying to audit clients, according to the people familiar with the matter. The SEC also asked for information on any cases in which audit firms obtained contracts that reimburse them for losses caused by lawsuits over their work, or made fees contingent on a particular result or outcome, they say.

Big Four Accounting Firms Come Under Regulator’s Scrutiny [WSJ]

For more of the latest in litigation, regulation, deals and financial services trends, sign up for Finance Docket, a partnership between Breaking Media publications Above the Law and Dealbreaker.

Related

ey

There Are All Sorts Of Things Accountants Can Do With Inside Information

It’s not always insider-trading, but it is apparently often improper all the same.

commerz

Commerz, Deutsche Money Management Arm Fire Auditor In Case They Decide To Sue It

Anyone can audit them, but there’s only one auditor they’re thinking about suing.

merrick garland

Merrick Garland Is Looking To Nail Some Corporate A**es To The Wall

The Justice Department is going holistic on wrongdoers.

grewal

SEC Wants Its Alums To Quick F**king Around

You of all people, former enforcement lawyers, ought to know better.

grewal

‘Sorry’ Seems To Be The Hardest Word, But You’re Damned Well Gonna Say It If Gurbir Grewal Has Anything To Do With It

And as the SEC’s enforcement chief with say-so over settlements, as it happens, he does.