James Kroeker departed his job as chief accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission soon after delivering a long-awaited SEC staff report on the status of the convergence effort with International Financial Reporting Standards.

The carefully balanced report, which nevertheless caused a kind of bombshell in accounting standards circles, listed a host of reasons why IFRS was not yet ready for incorporation in the U.S. financial reporting system, along with acknowledgment of the progress IFRS had made over the years as the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the International Accounting Standards Board worked for a decade on harmonizing IFRS with U.S. GAAP. Kroeker delivered the final staff report on the last day of his tenure as chief accountant as part of a carefully engineered work plan that the Office of the Chief Accountant had been tasked with fulfilling (see Kroeker to Leave SEC in July and SEC Releases Staff Report on IFRS Work Plan).

There was no explanation at the time of what he planned to do next, but now we know. On Tuesday, Deloitte announced that Kroeker has agreed to join the firm as deputy managing partner of professional practice, effective Jan. 7, 2013.

According to the news release, Kroeker will serve in a leadership role reporting directly to Deloitte LLP CEO Joe Echevarria, where he will promote high audit quality and serve as a senior consultative resource to help Deloitte engagement teams and clients reach high quality financial reporting conclusions in the public interest.

Kroeker is sure to bring a great deal of knowledge and expertise to the firm, which has lately faced some challenges with its reputation for audit quality, most recently in the wake of Hewlett-Packard’s recent financial restatement, which it blamed on its acquisition of British software developer Autonomy and Deloitte’s audits.

Kroeker served as the SEC chief accountant since January 2009 and before that as deputy chief accountant in 2007, and he had a reputation for carefully phrasing his descriptions of the status of the convergence process. He was also involved in a wide range of other accounting and auditing issues, including the thorny question of fair value measurement and mark-to-market accounting in the aftermath of the financial crisis.

While at the SEC, he served as staff director of the agency's study of fair value accounting standards, which was mandated by Congress in 2008, and he led the efforts of the Office of the Chief Accountant to improve off-balance sheet accounting standards. 

However, this is not his first turn at Deloitte, having come to the SEC from the firm, where he used to be a partner in the accounting services group. Still, he seems pleased to be rejoining his old firm.

“After considering numerous opportunities, I am thrilled to be joining Deloitte,” he said in a statement. “Deloitte has an outstanding legacy of leadership in the advancement of the auditing profession. Such leadership is as essential to investors today as it has been at any time in history, and today I see Deloitte playing a critical role in leading the profession to a new standard of audit quality. I look forward to being a part of this continuing legacy.”