Victor Mature, a staple of many of the “sword and sandal” epics of the 1940s and 1950s, was once turned down for membership in a posh Los Angeles country club. When he inquired as to why, the chairman told him that the club frowned on having actors as members. With perfect deadpan Mature replied, “But I’m no actor, and I have 67 films to prove it!”I sort of know how he felt. By my estimate, I’ve penned nearly 500 accounting-related columns, and yet I don’t think of myself as an expert on the profession as a whole or, for that matter, auditing as a subset — though I’ll admit I’m pleasantly surprised when I’m occasionally asked by readers or attendees at conferences what changes I would make to hone the auditing profession.

Although I do have some ideas, I’ll leave it to the far-brighter minds on the year-old Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession, formed by the Treasury Department to address competitive and regulatory issues facing the financial markets. Recently, the committee mulled roughly a dozen proposals that ran the gamut from providing more information to shareholders, to measures that would prevent a repeat of the 2002 collapse of Arthur Andersen.

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