New York (Nov. 6, 2002) - With little fanfare, New York-based accounting firm Citrin Cooperman & Co. announced via a government filing this week that it will no longer audit public companies.

In an 8-K statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, cheese-maker Lucille Farms said the firm would resign after the filing of the company’s report for the quarter ended Sept. 30 because it is exiting the public auditing business.

"We’ve had experiences in the public arena that have not been particularly rewarding, including concerns about the integrity and reliability of the information that we were receiving," managing partner Joel Cooperman told Electronic Accountant. "As a result, given the exposure public companies bring to an accounting firm, we decided we’d like to cast our lot in a different arena."

Citrin Cooperman audited less than 10 public companies, which accounted for approximately 2 percent of the firm’s gross revenues. It has only been involved in public company audits since 1997, when it acquired another accounting firm with SEC clients. The firm has already replaced that revenue stream with new business in the private sector.

Cooperman said the events of the past year, starting with Enron, convinced him and his partners that it was time to quit public audits, and said he’s surprised that other smaller firms aren’t following suit.

"I’m amazed at how many firms our size or smaller are beefing up their roster of publicly held companies," Cooperman said.

-- Tracey Miller-Segarra

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