New York (Nov. 19, 2003) -- William McDonough, Chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, said the slew of billion-dollar examples of corporate fraud such as Enron and WorldCom and HealthSouth, left the American people angry at unchecked corporate malfeasance and, as a result, that backlash ushered in reform.

“The American people looked at the wreckage of our vaunted private sector, and they got angry,” McDonough told several hundred financial officers and directors attending a Financial Executives International confab, here.

“The people got angry with the CEOs, with the boards, and even with those of us in the regulatory sector,”McDonough said. “In a democracy, when people get angry, they will insist on change.”

But despite the swift passage of Sarbanes-Oxley, McDonough cautioned attendees against treating the legislation as an internal checklist.

“Directors, CEOs and accountants may be tempted to treat Sarbanes-Oxley as a ‘to-do’ list -- a list of ‘must do, mustn’t do’ items that can be tucked away once every item is checked. Checking boxes won't cut it in this new world. The people are still angry.”

McDonough also told the audience that some 721 accounting firms have applied to register with the PCAOB, of which 665 have been approved.

-- WebCPA staff

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