In a published statement, SEC Acting Chief Accountant Paul Munter highlighted (i) the responsibilities of auditors, management and audit committees in maintaining auditor independence in both "fact and appearance" and (ii) proper audit committee oversight of the independent auditor.
Noting how companies are accessing the public markets, and how audit firms are expanding into non-audit services, Mr. Munter encouraged:
- audit committees and management to proactively monitor for future business relationships that might impact auditor independence; and
- audit firms to consider how a multi-year, non-audit service to or business relationship with non-audit clients could impact future auditor independence.
Mr. Munter emphasized that auditors must comply with the general standards of independence set forth in SEC Rule 210.2-01 ("Qualifications of accountants") under Regulation S-X.
Mr. Munter also highlighted the importance for audit committees to set the right "tone at the top" as to auditor independence and financial reporting quality.
- SEC Statement, Paul Munter: The Importance of High Quality Independent Audits and Effective Audit Committee Oversight to High Quality Financial Reporting to Investors
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