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SEC Approves Updates to Auditor’s Report

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has unanimously approved an audit reporting standard by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board requiring significant improvements to certain public company reports. Such improvements aim to make the auditor’s report more informative and address the communication of critical audit matters (“CAMs”) and disclosures concerning auditor tenure. The new auditor’s report is expected to offer investors meaningful insight regarding audits, such as important estimates and judgments, substantial unusual transactions, and other potential risk areas for an organization. Speaking on the objective of the auditing standard, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton said investors will benefit from a. Read More.

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Senate Bill Gives Sarbanes-Oxley Exemption to Small Banks

Banks holding less than $1 billion in assets could receive an exemption from the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404(b) under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Under S. 1962, the Community Bank Access to Capital Act of 2017, the proposed Senate bill frees smaller banks from the more complicated and expensive reforms under Sarbanes-Oxley. S. 1962 also requires public companies to hire an external auditor to attest to management’s internal controls over financial reporting. The bill’s co-sponsor, Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), stated the proposed measure would promote growth among community banks and help them support their communities. Section 404(b) advocates. Read More.

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Biotech Executive Pushes for Additional Sarbanes-Oxley Exemption

Several business lobbyists say Section 404(b) in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requiring auditors to attest clients’ internal controls create unnecessary expenses to public companies. In response, lobbyists are asking Congress to give additional exemptions for small and medium-sized companies. Representing the Biotechnology Innovation Organization during a July 18 hearing by the House Financial Services Committee, aTyr Pharma Senior Vice President John Blake testified that biotech companies currently developing drugs do not pose the same risks as bigger companies do with their financial reporting systems. Blake believes minimal benefit is gained from the auditor attestation requirements regarding financial reporting controls.. Read More.

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SEC Committee Fails to Reach Consensus on Board Diversity

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC”) Advisory Committee on Small and Emerging Companies recently failed to agree on proposed changes to improve disclosures regarding board diversity. During its December 7 conference call, panel members held lengthy discussions about the diversity disclosure recommendations but could not reach a consensus to vote. Per Release No. 33-9089, Proxy Disclosure Enhancements, public companies must disclose in proxy statements if diversity plays a role in their director nomination process and how such considerations are made. The release, however, does not provide a clear definition of “diversity,” but gives companies the freedom to determine how the. Read More.

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SEC Announces Fiscal Year 2015 Fee Rate

In a press release Friday, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) has announced that fees public companies and other issuers pay for registering their securities will be $116.20 per million dollars in fiscal year 2015. Per Section 6(b) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Sections 13(e) and 14(g) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the SEC is required to adjust the annual rates for fees paid to levels that reflect projections of how much the agency will generate equal to yearly statutory target amounts. According to the SEC’s projections, fiscal year 2015’s statutory target amount is set for $515 million.. Read More.

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PCAOB Looking to Move Forward with Audit Participant Disclosure Standard

As part of a major initiative to help investors receive more information about auditors and their work for public companies, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) is looking to adopt rules based on the proposed Release No. 2013-009, Improving Transparency Through Disclosure of Engagement Partner and Certain Other Participants in Audits. Hoping to issue the new rules soon, the proposed requirement of disclosing the lead partner on an auditor’s report has received the most attention. However, several financial professionals argue that investors may favor details regarding other audit participants. Under Release No. 2013-009, the names of outside firms and. Read More.

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