Prior to his 30-year reign as "king of late night television," Johnny Carson used to host a show called "Who Do you Trust?"
Now, with the wave of retro-nostalgia sweeping across the country, whether it be in architecture (as in several of the newer baseball stadiums), automobiles (the 2002 Thunderbirds and of course, the P/T Cruiser) it may not be a bad idea to bring back that show which ran for several years on both daytime and evening programming.
I mean, could resurrecting it possibly be worse than current "reality-based" garbage such as "Dog Eat Dog," "The Mole" or the Anna Nicole Smith show?
But in the modern-day version, the "trust" factor in the show would apply to the make-up of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission —one of the primary components of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 to (hopefully) eliminate corporate fraud.
Just who would you trust to sit on that board?
The PCAOB, in brief, would register firms that prepare audit reports, establish auditing ethics and independence standards, and conduct disciplinary proceedings and investigations.
Currently, the office of the chief accountant of the SEC is accepting nominations for potential candidates.
The qualifications are somewhat broad-brushed. In fact the requirements, which state that just two members can be CPAs, tell you more of what you can’t be than what you can.
The Sarbanes-Oxley measure stated that board members must be: "Prominent individuals of integrity and reputation who have a demonstrated commitment to the interests of investors and the public, and an understanding of the responsibilities for and nature of the financial disclosure required of issuers under the securities laws and the obligations of accountants with respect to the preparation and issuance of audit reports with respect to such disclosures."
Phew! Now repeat that 10 times fast.
My guess is that a strong legal background wouldn’t hurt and it would probably behoove potential candidates to know the difference between a stock put and a shot put.
In any event it’s a good bet that if the Big Four and the American Institute of CPAs are uncomfortable with the makeup of the board, it’s probably on the right track. Only those that make firms and C-level executives squirm, are the ones that would probably do the most to enact reform.
I’m sure anyone reading this column can think of at least five people they feel could serve as one of the inaugural five to comprise that board. At least I hope everyone could spew out five nominees.
If not, corporate America is in more trouble than we know. At worst, they could always trot out Johnny for one last monologue.
Register or login for access to this item and much more
All Accounting Today content is archived after seven days.
Community members receive:
- All recent and archived articles
- Conference offers and updates
- A full menu of enewsletter options
- Web seminars, white papers, ebooks
Already have an account? Log In
Don't have an account? Register for Free Unlimited Access