EU and US unite over oversight moves

That, at least, might be the result of twin initiatives on standards and on
audit oversight, both trailed by EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy and
counterparts in the US last week.

Under the plans for the convergence roadmap, at a special roundtable in
Washington a few days ago, the beginning of the end of dual inspections of
auditing firms by US and European regulators was announced.

This may seem like cause for celebration given the discomfort many firms have
to go through when inspectors do their rounds.

European watchdogs and accountants have become increasingly concerned with
the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s heavy inspection regime, which
has inefficiency by duplicating work.

The PCAOB’s chairman Mark Olson and the EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy,
have agreed that regulators on both sides of the atlantic should push for
finalisation of the convergence process by 2009.

The move is the first step of many, since EU rules are set to require EU
regulators to do what the PCAOB has been doing and go abroad to run the rule
over foreign auditors from a total of 60 countries with companies listed in

The convergence of standards was also on the agenda last week. Currently,
foreign companies that list shares for trading in the United States convert
their financial results to conform to US GAAP and European regulators have said
that, similarly, they may eventually require US companies to reconcile their
results to the new international standards.

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