PracticeAuditUS audit body ‘determined’ to shut down

US audit body 'determined' to shut down

US accountancy watchdog the Public Oversight Board remains determined to shut its doors at the end of March despite heavy criticism from within the profession.

The resignation follows Securities & Exchange Commission chairman Harvey Pitt’s announcement last Thursday that he will create a new oversight body to police the accountancy profession. Pitt did not give a timeframe, but if the new regime does not kick in before March there could be a regulatory gap.

The Board, which oversees peer reviews by accountancy firms, was not available to comment yesterday.

However a source close to the watchdog said: ‘This is not a matter of wounded pride. Given the circumstances they thought it is time to disband. When Pitt was asked about the POB’s role during the conference on Thursday he would not comment.’

The group has invited the SEC and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants to attend a 31 January meeting to discuss the transition period.

But while the SEC wrote to the POB and insisted it will be part of the new oversight force, KPMG had a different message.

A spokesperson for the Big Five firm called the POB irresponsible for resigning simply ‘because they will ultimately be replaced’. The spokesperson went on to say that the decision was more about ‘pure self-interest’ than public interest.

Because of the pending reforms the firm would not talk about its own hopes for the future of peer reviews. Deloitte & Touche and PricewaterhouseCoopers also remained quiet on the subject.

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