The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has fined a Big Four partner $25,000 for his audits of Navistar Financial Corp.
Christopher Anderson, 46, a partner in Deloitte & Touche's Chicago office, was also suspended for one year from being associated with a PCAOB-registered accounting firm. The PCAOB said he violated its rules and auditing standards when he audited the company's fiscal 2003 financial statements.
Shortly before Navistar Financial and its parent company, Navistar International, planned to file their Forms 10-K, they discovered $19.7 million in apparent errors, resulting in an overstatement of NFC's assets, revenues and earnings. Upon discovering the overstatement, the parent company faced the prospect of having to report fourth-quarter earnings below those announced to analysts and investors two weeks earlier, according to the PCAOB. Management wanted to avoid retracting that announcement and to meet an internal target date for filing their Forms 10-K. Anderson authorized an unqualified audit opinion.
After discovering the overstatement, he allegedly accepted a decision, made at Deloitte's NIC engagement team level, that the quantitative materiality threshold for the NFC audit should be increased by 50 percent, even though he believed that the original threshold remained appropriate and understood that the increased threshold would make it easier to treat known misstatements as immaterial, according to the PCAOB.
The PCAOB also claimed he accepted, "without a reasonable basis, NFC accounting decisions and adjustments that offset the effect of the overstatement; and that [he] authorized issuance of the audit opinion before NFC completed reconciliation of the accounts that were the source of the overstatement; and otherwise failed to act with the requisite due professional care and professional skepticism."
Deloitte spokesperson Deb Harrington said, "We are pleased that Mr. Anderson and the PCAOB were able to resolve the matter."
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