BROKER/DEALER AUDITORS MUST REGISTER WITH PCAOBWashington, D.C. - The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board said that the financial statements of non-public broker/dealers now need to be certified by PCAOB-registered auditing firms.
The registration applies to financial statements for fiscal years ending after Dec. 31, 2008. Registration of auditors of the private broker/dealers had not been required in the past as the result of an order by the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, the SEC order has now expired, and the commission is not likely to extend the exemption given recent criticism of its lax regulation of the markets.
To register, a firm must complete an electronic application at www.pcaobus.org/registration and pay a fee. Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and PCAOB rules, the board must, within 45 days after receiving an application and fee, either approve the application, request additional information from the applicant, or provide a notice of hearing to determine whether to approve the application.
Pending the SEC's approval of rules that the PCAOB adopted last year, all firms registered as of March 31, 2009, also will be required to file an annual report and pay an annual fee for 2009. Under those rules, firms that become registered after March 31, 2009, would not be required to file an annual report or pay an annual fee before 2010.
BELLWETHER YEAR FOR REPORTING
New York - Fitch Ratings predicted that 2009 would be a pivotal year for accounting, particularly in terms of fair value measurement and standards convergence.
The credit-ratings service has published a report on the global outlook for accounting and financial reporting this year. One major issue it predicts will be going-concern evaluations. As companies prepare their annual financials, a pressing question is how best to justify a going-concern basis, given the doubts some have about their ability to refinance. Impairment of debt investments and the lack of clear-cut rules on the subject have pitted some issuers against their auditors, the report noted.
The business combination standard may also add volatility to an acquirer's income statement as U.S. GAAP converges with International Financial Reporting Standards. Fitch also expects new accounting rules on special purpose entities to bring many off-balance-sheet entities back onto U.S. companies' balance sheets.
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