AUDIT QUALITY GETTING BETTERSarbanes-Oxley has led to big improvements in audit quality, according to a newly released survey. Seventy-eight percent of the 253 public company audit committee members surveyed by the Center for Audit Quality rated overall audit quality as either “very good” or “excellent.” Meanwhile, 82 percent said that it has improved somewhat or significantly in the past several years.

Approximately 87 percent said that the risk of inaccuracies in financial statements due to fraud is “not very high,” while 60 percent agreed that the risk declined after the passage of SOX in 2002. Sixty-five percent of the respondents agreed that investors should have more confidence in the markets as a result of SOX, while 58 percent said that changes resulting from SOX had a positive impact.

Among the leading reasons cited for the improvement in audits were increased audit committee oversight (92 percent), requirements regarding internal controls (87 percent), better communication within audit committees (85 percent), increased emphasis on quality by auditors (77 percent), more rigorous audits (76 percent) and audit committee oversight of auditors (76 percent).

BROADCOM BOARD OKS KPMG

Broadcom Corp., an Irvine, Calif.-based manufacturer and designer of semiconductors, has named Big Four firm KPMG as its new independent accountant. KPMG replaces Ernst & Young, whose engagement was not renewed. The audit was subsequently put out for proposal. In a federal filing, Broadcom said that a competitive process for a new auditor was conducted as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to enhance its corporate governance practices.

CB RICHARD ELLIS DISMISSES DELOITTE

Los Angeles-based real estate services concern CB Richard Ellis Group Inc. dismissed its auditor, Big Four firm Deloitte, and named KPMG as its replacement. In a filing, CB Richard Ellis said that it didn’t have any disagreements with Deloitte on any matter of accounting.

HUDSON HIGHLAND NAMES KPMG

New York-based staffing and talent management provider Hudson Highland Group has named Big Four firm KPMG as its new auditor, replacing BDO Seidman.

According to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, the decision to change independent accountants came about via a competitive process. BDO’s reports on Hudson Highland’s financials for the fiscal years ended Dec. 31, 2006 and 2007, did not contain an adverse opinion, a disclaimer of opinion, or a qualification or modification as to uncertainty, audit scope or accounting principles.

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