Chicago (Sept. 3, 2003) -- In an effort to avoid any hint of impropriety - or possible censure -- Grant Thornton announced Tuesday that it would stay away from advising public audit clients on any aspect of their internal controls.

The nation’s fifth largest accounting firm said it would no longer accept engagements to document or evaluate public company controls if it serves as that company’s outside auditor, but would instead refer the company to another firm.

“Just as we believe that the accounting industry should accept a principles versus rules based approach to accounting, we believe the same should be the case in adhering to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act,” said Grant Thornton Chief Executive Officer Ed Nusbaum.  “There are areas in the legislation that are clear, and some that might be interpreted differently by others.  But the guide in gray areas should be the spirit of reform and protection of investors that the bill’s authors intended.”

In addition, Grant Thornton said it has also placed on the taboo services list design controls, design or implement processes that affect the financial reporting process, and access to proprietary software used by auditors to evaluate controls over financial reporting.

Grant Thornton will attest to, and report on, management’s assessment of internal controls of its public audit clients under Section 404 of the act, and will continue to provide a wide array of internal controls services for public companies that are not audit clients.

-- Tracey Miller-Segarra

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