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SEC enforcements against accountants taper, report says

Tammy Whitehouse | August 23, 2018

Enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission against accountants have tapered off the past few years, according to a new analysis by Cornerstone Research.

The SEC finalized a total of 40 enforcement actions against accountants in 2017, with 27 of those targeting certified public accountants employed at SEC registrants and 13 targeting auditors at audit firms. Of the actions against auditors, 12 involved issuer auditors and only one an auditor of a broker-dealer.

That number declined from 2016, when the SEC finalized 51 actions against accountants and 2015 when the SEC issued 55 enforcement orders involving accountants. In 2016, more than half of the actions, or 26, targeted external auditors rather than CPAs at registrants.

Before the peak in 2015, the SEC delivered 36 enforcement actions to accountants in 2014 and 35 in 2013. In 2012, the...

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