Public enemy number one for the Big Four, at least here in the UK, was Paul Boyle, chief executive of the Financial Reporting Council and the driving force behind the audit choice review. This is the review tasked with finding ways of improving the market, or rather making the Big Four a Big Five again.
But now there’s a new nemesis, or three. Start with Henry Paulson, US Treasury secretary who has announced Washington’s own review of the audit market. Then there’s Arthur Levitt, the hard boiled former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, (who once said that accountancy firms could not be trusted to regulate themselves), and will co-chair the review. And then there’s Donald Nicolaisen, former SEC chief accountant described as ‘a powerful agent for change’ while in a former job.
To be fair, Nicolaisen is a former PwC partner , so he’s likely to be considered as a Big Four ally. But having said that the very fact the Paulson has appointed Levitt will have the US Big Four people worried. Almost makes you feel sorry for them.
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