New York (Sept. 21, 2004) -- A trend among the nation's four largest accounting firms of dropping small audit clients reportedly has the Securities and Exchange Commission's chief accountant concerned.

Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers have dropped at least eight U.S. audit clients in the past seven weeks, because they say that they are overworked helping their biggest and most profitable clients meet a Nov. 15 Sarbanes-Oxley deadline to improve financial reporting systems, Bloomberg News reported.

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