Bricker to step down as SEC chief accountant

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The Securities and Exchange Commission announced that chief accountant Wesley Bricker will step down in June. On his departure, current deputy chief accountant Sagar Teotia will serve as acting chief accountant.

Bricker has served as chief accountant since 2016; he joined the SEC in 2014 from Big Four firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Word was not immediately available as to his plans, or his reason for leaving.

"Wes is both the consummate professional and model public servant," said chairman Jay Clayton in a statement. "From the first day I met him, I was impressed by the depth of his knowledge and his commitment to high-quality standards for the benefit of our markets and our investors. Wes has moved the commission forward in many ways."

"It has been a profound honor to contribute in public service to this wonderful agency and its people," Bricker said in a statement. "I owe Chairman Clayton and former Chair [Mary Jo] White my deep gratitude for giving me this opportunity and their support. I am also grateful to my phenomenal colleagues in the Office of the Chief Accountant, whose expertise and professionalism have benefitted me and the commission in all areas of our work. I am impressed with the breadth and magnitude of results the office has accomplished."

Among the many accomplishments the SEC cited from Bricker’s tenure were:

  • Emphasizing the role of audit committees in financial reporting and external auditor oversight;
  • Working with the Financial Accounting Standards Board on implementation issues related to new accounting standards such as revenue recognition, leasing, current expected credit losses, investments in equity securities, and improvements to hedging activities;
  • Serving as chair of the Monitoring Group, a group of international financial institutions and regulatory bodies that aims to improve international audit standard-setting and audit quality;
  • Developing recommendations regarding auditor independence and a framework for reporting and disclosing the income tax accounting implications of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act;
  • Working to strengthen the Public Accounting Oversight Board; and,
  • Delivering a blueprint of the U.S. financial reporting structure to aid in strengthening the system.

The chief accountant serves as the principal advisor to the commission on accounting and auditing matters and is responsible for helping it oversee FASB and the PCAOB.

Bricker’s interim successor, Sagar Teotia, joined the commission in 2017 from Big Four firm Deloitte, where he was a partner; he had previously served as a professional accounting fellow in the Office of the Chief Accountant (as had Bricker, prior to his tenure).

"I am grateful that Sagar has agreed to take on this important role, and I have no doubt that he will pick up right where Wes left off leading the commission’s talented group of accounting and audit professionals," said chairman Clayton in a statement. "Sagar's extensive experience and expertise in accounting and audit matters is well recognized by his colleagues both inside and outside the commission, and I know that he comes to work every day dedicated to ensuring that our investors have the benefit of the highest quality reporting and audit standards."

"It is an honor to continue to work on behalf of the agency and investors, and to lead the deeply talented and dedicated staff of the Office of the Chief Accountant," Teotia said in a statement. "I am looking forward to continuing to address the quality of financial reporting through engagement in both domestic and international activities and across the various groups involved in the preparation, audit, and use of financial information."

Teotia holds a BS in accountancy from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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SEC regulations Accounting regulations Wesley Bricker SEC PCAOB FASB