Audit firm CohnReznick agreed to pay a $20,000 fine levied by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) for allegedly disclosing late a penalty it received from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The firm was required to notify the PCAOB within 30 days of the $1.9 million settlement it reached with the SEC in June 2022 regarding alleged improper conduct during the course of two client audits in 2017; instead, it disclosed the event in December. CohnReznick was also faulted for not timely disclosing to the PCAOB three of its partners were penalized by the SEC as well.
“Registered firms must report qualifying events … on a timely basis so that such information is available to investors and can be used as part of the board’s oversight of those firms,” said Robert Rice, PCAOB director of enforcement and investigations, in a press release Tuesday.
The regulator said it has “increased its vigilance concerning firms’ failures to disclose required events … by the applicable deadline.” Grant Thornton was fined $40,000 for similar disclosure violations in December.
CohnReznick’s internal compliance and reporting systems failed to identify the initiation and conclusion of the SEC’s proceedings as needing to timely be reported to the PCAOB, the regulator said in its order. The firm has since enhanced its policies and procedures regarding reportable events.
CohnReznick did not respond to a request for comment. The firm neither admitted nor denied the PCAOB’s findings.