A War the Accountants Will Lose Even if They Win New York Times (07/28/00) Vol. 28, No. 15 p.C1; Norris, Floyd
Some accountants want Arthur Levitt, the chairman of
the Securities and Exchange Commission, to go away. Levitt wants
to, "be the nice guy," in a sense, by enacting new rules to
increase the independence of auditors. Auditors are the only
such profession enshrined in the nation's securities laws. If
you want to sell stocks, you do not necessarily need a lawyer or
broker, but you definitely need an independent accountant.
Levitt is worried that auditors are not concerned enough with
maintaining their independence. Forcing accountants to stop
providing consulting services they currently sell to companies
whose books they audit has enraged many in the accounting
industry. The accountants retort that the services they provide
allow them to be more familiar with the company. Most
accountants also claim to be able to do more informed audits when
they also are involved in consulting.