Tag: internal control over financial reporting

Do material weaknesses point to fraud risk?

It’s not just Dodd-Frank that has been roundly disparaged in some quarters, SOX 404(b)—the requirement to have an auditor attestation and report on management’s assessment of internal control over financial reporting—has also recently been much maligned. For example, at a recent House subcommittee hearing devoted to the reasons for the decline in the number of IPOs and public companies, a majority of the subcommittee members attributed the decline largely to regulatory overload, with a number of the witnesses training their sights directly on SOX 404(b). (See the SideBar below.) And then there are the legislative efforts to limit the application of SOX 404(b), such as the provision in the Financial Choice Act to allow certain time-lapsed EGCs another five-year exemption from the audit-attestation requirement. (See this PubCo post.) Whether you view these efforts as heavy-handed or not enough of a good thing, the notion that internal controls might diminish fraud risk remains controversial: some maintain that they are a strong deterrent, while others challenge that contention in light of management’s ability to override controls. A recent study by academics in Texas analyzed whether the strength of internal control significantly affects fraud risk. The result: the study found “a strong association between material weaknesses and future fraud revelation,” leading to the authors’ conclusion that “control opinions that do cite material weaknesses provide a meaningful signal of increased fraud risk.”

New revenue recognition standard—are companies overlooking the disclosures?

by Cydney Posner The warnings are everywhere—it’s time to get serious about revenue recognition. The new standard is expected to result in significant changes to measuring, recognizing and reporting of revenue—regarded as the key line item in the financials for most companies. While the impact of the new standard will […]

SEC Chief Accountant addresses audit committee effectiveness

by Cydney Posner In a recent speech at the University of Tennessee, “Advancing the Role and Effectiveness of Audit Committees,” SEC Chief Accountant Wes Bricker discusses his recommendations for — wait for it — improving the effectiveness of audit committees.  The speech addresses issues such as diversity, work overload, tone […]

SEC Chief Accountant and staff speak at AICPA National Conference

by Cydney Posner Earlier this month, at the 2016 AICPA conference on current developments, the SEC’s Chief Accountant and several staff members of his office shared their insights on a variety of key accounting topics, among them the following:

Taking on “management review controls”

by Cydney Posner In a speech at the end of 2015 to the AICPA National Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments, SEC Chair Mary Jo White  emphasized that “it is hard to think of an area more important than ICFR [internal control over financial reporting] to our shared mission of providing […]

SEC Chief Accountant addresses the new revenue recognition standard in the context of the life sciences industry

by Cydney Posner In late March, SEC Chief Accountant, James Schnurr, delivered remarks before the 12th Annual Life Sciences Accounting and Reporting Congress.   The remarks addressed the new revenue recognition standard and internal control over financial reporting as applied in particular to life sciences companies, and also cautioned companies regarding […]

SEC Chair and staff presentations at AICPA National Conference

by Cydney Posner SEC Chair Mary Jo White and a cast of thousands from the SEC’s Office of the Chief Accountant delivered remarks yesterday before the 2015 AICPA National Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments. Summarized below are some of the key themes of their speeches: