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.


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