Ex-SEC boss slams big accounting firms
Arthur Levitt, former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, has called for a new regulatory system for auditors in the wake of the collapse of Enron.
Levitt, whose efforts to tighten regulation in the accounting profession were thwarted by the US corporate lobby during his chairmanship which ended in 2001, told the FT at the weekend that accounting firms could not be trusted to regulate themselves.
He said: ‘The contraction in the number of accounting firms has really strengthened [their] relations with companies in a way that makes it all too easy to go along with the way companies treat their numbers.’
‘There is no present significant oversight of the profession: I don’t think the accountants can do it on their own. I think they’ve been insensitive to the importance of the public interest,’ reported the FT.