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The Resource Count Down : The Past, Present and Uncertain Future of the Big Four Accounting Firms - Second Edition

Count Down : The Past, Present and Uncertain Future of the Big Four Accounting Firms - Second Edition

Count Down : The Past, Present and Uncertain Future of the Big Four Accounting Firms - Second Edition
Count Down
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The Past, Present and Uncertain Future of the Big Four Accounting Firms - Second Edition
Enron killed Arthur Andersen in 2002, leaving only Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC. Now the Big Four, with a total revenue of 127 billion, face major threats that need immediate attention. Count Down looks at today's model and proposes a new Big Audit, fit to serve the capital markets of the 21st century
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Count Down : The Past, Present and Uncertain Future of the Big Four Accounting Firms - Second Edition
Count Down : The Past, Present and Uncertain Future of the Big Four Accounting Firms - Second Edition
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  • Front Cover -- Count Down -- Copyright Page -- Contents -- Preface to the Second Edition -- Foreword -- I. Introduction - The Past - History and Context -- "Where Were the Auditors?" -- Where Is Big Audit Today? -- The Visibility of the Big Four -- The Expected Attitude of the Players -- To the Insiders, Big Audit Is So Yesterday -- To the Rest of the World - Accounting Is So Boring -- Familiarity -- Complexity Conceals -- Big Audit Looks Like Any Other Utility -- "Mind the Gap" -- The Limits of the "Utility" Metaphor -- Where Are the Critics? -- Framing the Issues -- Andersen/Enron - The Beginning of the End -- The Diminished Value of Today's Assurance Product -- The Players in the Matrix - Their Interlocking Mutuality of Interests -- Lessons from Big Audit's Early History: The Great Western Railway - Mr. Deloitte's First Audit Report -- HP versus Autonomy: How Big Audit Might Survive the Fallout -- Examples of the Extent of Large-Company Audit Concentration -- United States -- United Kingdom -- France -- Germany -- Sidebar: Counting the Beans -- Facts and Figures on Big Audit -- Notes -- II. The Present State of Big Audit -- How Bad Is It? -- What Is Expected? What Should the Auditors Do? -- The Big Four Won't Be Here At All - The Next Collapse Goes "Four-to-Zero" -- When Reality Bites, It Will Bite Hard -- The Problem of Available Choice -- The Attitude of the Regulators -- The Financial Fragility of the Big Four - The Tipping Point -- The Model and Its Assumptions -- The Grim Reality of the Calculations -- And the Cause for Optimism? -- The Big Four Accounting Firms Are Down to Critical Mass, Said the Financial Times - So It Must Be Official -- Accounting Standards Convergence - Nobody Knows Where They Are -- The Standard-Setters Finish the Job -- In Reality, Convergence Doesn't Matter -- Sidebar: Convergence and Postponements
  • "In All Material Respects" - The Auditors Don't Say -- Non-GAAP Metrics - What Does "Generally Accepted" Really Mean? -- Auditor Independence - Appearance and Reality -- No Value - No Point -- The Auditors' Real Clients - Time to Reassess -- Lost among the Mixed Messages -- Whether Independence Has Value - Two Cases Suggest Otherwise -- The EY/Ventas Affair - In the End, Who Really Got Bonked? -- KPMG, Herbalife's Stock Price and the Blame Game -- Limits on Big Audit's Ability to Innovate -- Legal Standards and Public Expectations -- The Big Four's Unsustainable Liability Exposure -- Escalated Public Expectations - The Firms' Responsibility -- Neither Regulatory Nor Market Solutions Are Viable -- Sidebar: A Case Study-Standard & Poor's in the Gunsights -- Notes -- III. A Taxonomy of the Non-Solutions -- Preface: The Auditors - Missing from the Financial Crisis -- The Unachievable "Magic Bullets" -- Insurance - To Save the Auditors -- Catastrophe Bonds for Auditors - An Idea That Refuses to Stay Dead -- Government-Backed Insurance as a Trade-Off -- The Auditors' Own Financial Resources - Insignificant Protection -- Government Involvement with Big Audit -- Could a Government Agency Assign Publicly Financed Audits? -- Audit by Government - More Heat in the Kitchen - And Less Light -- If the Banks Were Nationalized - Why Not the Auditors? -- Unified Structures - Could the Big Four Think Local, But Act Global? -- Outside Capital - What Money Can't Fix -- Forensic Audits to Detect Fraud -- Joint Audits - Nobody's Answer -- Naming the Audit Partners - Will a "Red A" Really Matter? -- Leadership Replacement to Save a Collapsing Firm - A Nonstarter -- A Useful New Auditor's Report? The Current Initiatives Lack Real Promise -- The PCAOB's Eventual "Game Change" Proposal - Only Small Change
  • Can Value Be Brought Back to the Auditor's Report - A Tale of Two Systems -- The Future May Be Arriving - At Least in the United Kingdom -- Limitations of Liability -- Pervasive Hostility - The Futility of the Entire Effort -- The Political Dynamics - Summarized -- As for the Legal Environment - Legal Systems Compared -- Class Actions, Costs and Contingent Fees -- Privity -- Limitations of Liability -- Joint and Several Liability -- Contribution, Fault Allocation and Proportionate Liability -- Europe's Unsuccessful Attempts to Take the Lead -- Mandatory Auditor Replacement - Rotation or Tender -- The Usual Themes and the Unexamined Theories -- When the PCAOB Chairman Revived an Old Idea -- The Arguments in Favor of Mandatory Rotation -- Auditor Replacement as a Sanction Could Better Be "Case-By-Case" -- Auditor Rotation Prohibition - HR 1564's Bump in the Road to Nowhere -- How The British Went Their Own Way -- The Rotation Environment in Europe -- Notes -- IV. The Acts and Attitudes of the Players in Big Audit -- The SEC Settlement with the Big Four - A Chinese Puzzle That Missed Some Key Pieces -- Sarbanes-Oxley Itself - Its First Ten Years, the Years Since and Counting -- The PCAOB Asked Auditors an Unanswerable Question - Do Company Controls "Work"? -- Epidemic Levels of Audit Deficiencies - IFIAR and the PCAOB Overplay a Hand -- The EC's 2010 Green Paper - The Bureaucrats Add Little -- Instead of EU Reform - Commissioner Barnier's Further Efforts -- Disintegration - The Big Four Tell the House of Lords, "We Don't See That on the Horizon" -- And Then Everyone Went for Tea -- Deloitte's Audit Ban in Saudi Arabia - The Potential for Global Effects -- As for the Views of the Issuers' Lobby -- Audited Financial Statements for the Big Four - Should the Cobbler's Barefoot Children Have Shoes? -- Consulting - A Plausible Exit Strategy?
  • Sidebar: "What If?" A Contra-Factual -- The Future Belongs to "Big Data" - The Challenges Will Be Enormous -- Introduction: The Speed and Scope of the Changes -- The Machines Will Audit Faster, Smarter and Cheaper -- Cognitive Technology's Accelerating Learning Rate -- As for the Large Firms' Business Model -- Meanwhile, the Regulators Are Not On Board -- To Conclude -- Notes -- V. The Uncertain Future of the Big Four -- Introduction - What Could Be the Future? -- Medical Checkups and Annual Audits - If Your Doctor Reported Like Your Auditor -- What Should Be in the Auditors' Report - Would Users Know When They Saw It? -- The Value of Today's Audit Report - Military History's Metaphor for "Expensive, Obsolete and Irrelevant" -- And What a Truly Useful Report Might Say -- Delivering a Tailored Report -- Roguery at UBS Provides a Teaching Moment -- The Attributes of a Differentiated Assurance Report -- Recapping the Prescription - A Dose of Real Medicine -- Audit Quality and Failure Study - A Modest Proposal -- Examples in Other Sectors -- A Vacuum of Opportunity -- Structure and Operations -- Benefits and Support -- Federal "Charters" for Accounting Firms and Their Personnel - A Blank-Page Approach -- Notes -- Conclusion -- Appendices -- Appendix A -- Appendix B -- Report of Ernst & Young LLP, Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm -- Timeline: An Abbreviated History - the Origins of the Big Eight, and How They Shrank to Four -- Glossary - Abbreviations, Acronyms and Cast of Central Characters -- AICPA -- CAQ -- EU -- FASB -- FRC -- FSA/FCA/PRA -- IAASB -- IASB -- ICAEW -- IFIAR -- IFRS -- PCAOB -- Sarbanes-Oxley -- SEC -- Note on Sources -- Thanks and Acknowledgments -- About the Author -- Index
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2nd ed.
1 online resource (352 pages)
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