Deloittes in Microsoft conflict.

Deloitte & Touche is facing the loss of millions of pounds in revenue after a bombshell ruling by the US Securities & Exchange Commission over conflicts of interest arising from its audit of Microsoft, writes Alex Miller.

Accountancy Age has learned that the watchdog has told the Big Five firm, which is the third largest Great Plains reseller worldwide, that it must stop selling software following the software company’s $1.1bn (#770m) acquisition by Microsoft, completed earlier this month.

SEC officials ruled the acquisition had created a conflict of interest as the firm, which has sold the software for three years, has also been the auditor of Microsoft for two years.

But Deloitte & Touche partner Paul Botha said that despite the decision the firm would continue to provide IT support and would be looking for third parties to sell the software. Botha added: ‘Contrary to what many people believe, Deloittes is not pulling out of the market, but we will be refining our position.’

The move has demonstrated the SEC’s determination to maintain authority despite not having had a permanent chairman since Arthur Levitt resigned in February. It also demonstrated it is willing to play tough despite the appointment of George W. Bush as president.

A spokeswoman for Microsoft in the UK, told Accountancy Age: ‘As far as Microsoft is concerned Deloitte & Touche has been and will continue to be a strategic partner with Great Plains and Microsoft business solutions.’

An official SEC statement, said: ‘We have haven’t released any public statement about the case, so, according to SEC policy, we have no comment and neither confirm or deny the existence or non-existence of any proceedings.’

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