Mr. Eli Mason's commentary ("Profession needs rotation of auditors," Oct. 25-Nov. 7, 2004, p. 6) advocates mandatory rotation of auditors for publicly traded companies. I not only agree with Mr. Mason, but further believe that mandatory rotation of auditors is good for the government sector as well.
As auditor general of the State of Illinois since 1992, I have maintained a rotation policy that generally prohibits the same accounting firm from conducting the external audit of a state agency for more than six successive fiscal years.
Our experience in Illinois has been that a six-year rotation cycle strikes an appropriate balance between the efficiencies of repetition and experience and the need for, as Mr. Mason calls it, a "breath of fresh air."
As the person responsible for the external audit program of state government in Illinois, the transition of auditors from one firm to the next on a mandatory, periodic basis provides not only me but the chief executive and the General Assembly as well with an added measure of confidence that our audits are fair and objective.
There is no reason to expect anything less of the public sector than we should demand of the private sector.
William G. Holland
Auditor General, Illinois
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