Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is set to act more formally on efforts to make the United States an easier place to do business, according to published reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Paulson will announce the creation of an advisory committee next week, that will focus on providing concrete recommendations for the accounting industry, including ways to limit the liability of public accountants.

Much of the work is expected to center around issues raised by the Committee on Capital Markets Regulation, which had the support of Paulson. That committee said that improved materiality standards could go a long ways towards ensuring that auditors look for controls that significantly matter to a company’s processes and bottom line. A report released by the group last November also called for Congress to consider liability caps for auditors and the introduction of safe harbors.

Paulson is also expected to discuss:

  • Steps to reduce regulatory overlap, particularly for banking institutions;
  • The Treasury's attempt to address a legal system that Paulson has said exposes market participants to "significant litigation risk;"
  • The rewriting of auditing standards governing the internal control provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley; and,
  • The Securities and Exchange Commission's move to allow foreign companies to comply with International Financial Reporting Standards, instead of GAAP.

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