SEC chief accountant calls out audit leadership culture

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Staff at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have observed instances of audit firms setting poor examples for junior-level employees by failing to properly discipline senior leaders found to have breached ethical standards, according to the agency’s chief accountant.

Paul Munter issued a statement Wednesday in which he questioned the tone audit firms set by failing to hold accountable the individuals who remain in positions of firm leadership following discipline imposed by a regulatory agency.

“What message does it send to the accounting profession and firm staff, particularly less-experienced staff and staff in service lines other than audit?” he asked. “Does it teach them that skirting the rules is acceptable, as long as you don’t get caught?”

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