February 17, 2014
A Tale Of Two Auditor Rotations
Posted by David Zaring

What you'll hear from me, as a general matter, is a story about the increasing convergence on matters financial regulatory across borders.  But this is not to say that this convergence will be a story of cosmopolitan triumphalism, sans bumps, disputes, and difficulties.  

Take auditor rotation, which is the shorthand for "the government requires you to fire your auditor and hire a different one everyone so often, lest your auditor become captured, or you start speaking to it in a strange shorthand outsiders can't understand."  It's something that will really make a difference to the lives of CFOs and their reports everywhere.  It will also either disrupt the multi-billion dollar accounting business, or end competition in the sector.  And the EU now requires it every 10 years or so, while the US has dropped its auditor rotation plans.  You might even call the emerging approaches to auditor independence completely inconsistent with one another.  

The interesting question will be whether the EU makes foreign listed companies rotate auditors if they solicit or somehow end up with a substantial number of European investors (the current answer appears to be no, but stay tuned).  If it does that, it will be yet another example of the way that the EU makes regulatory policy for the rest of the world.  HT: Corp Counsel


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