In light of the recent collapse of energy giant Enron, the corporation finance division of the Securities and Exchange Commission will review the annual reports of the nation's Fortune 500 companies in an attempt to seek out accounting red flags.
The agency will look for financial statement disclosures that may not follow accounting rules or may not be clear enough for investors to understand.
"Anything that improves the level of accounting and disclosure in corporate America is a good idea for our financial markets and for investors in general - if it's an actual program as opposed to just window dressing," said Gregg W. Corso, senior counsel to former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt.
The SEC's corporation finance division "will focus on disclosure that appears to be critical to an understanding of each company's financial position and results, but which, at least on its face, seems to conflict significantly with generally accepted accounting principles or commission rules," said the SEC in a statement. "Where problems are identified, the division will select the filing for expedited review."