SEC Chief Wants Accounting Firms Held Accountable
Business First of Columbus (10/06/00) Vol. 28, No. 20 p.1; Anand, Vineeta

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) head Arthur Levitt is ready to take his case regarding auditor independence to congressional leaders. According to reports, the SEC is already investigating accounting firms for providing consulting services to clients they are auditing, although no names have been mentioned. Levitt believes that keeping consulting services separate from auditing services would protect those who invest in U.S. companies. He does not want to see consulting firms developing reporting systems for companies, only to have the firm's auditing units also certifying the books of clients. While Arthur Andersen, Deloitte & Touche, and KPMG oppose the SEC's efforts, Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers appear to be more willing to reach a compromise on the issue. Meanwhile, critics in the accounting industry maintain that the industry already has rules that prevent companies from performing any activities that represent a conflict of interest.

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