James Schnurr is the New Chief Accountant at the SEC

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has chosen a former partner and vice chairman with Deloitte LLP as its new chief accountant.

James Schnurr, who specialized in financial and SEC reporting for public companies during his tenure at Deloitte, was tapped by the agency on Tuesday to head its Office of the Chief Accountant.

Schnurr, who recently retired from Deloitte, starts his new job in October and replaces Paul Beswick, who joined the SEC staff in September 2007 and has served as the agency’s chief accountant since 2012.

“I am honored to join the commission staff to further the protection of investors in our capital markets,” Schnurr said in a written statement. “I look forward to working with the commissioners and the commission’s talented staff to ensure that companies are providing accurate and complete financial information and that auditors are upholding the public trust in providing assurance to investors about that information.”

The SEC Office of the Chief Accountant is responsible for establishing and enforcing accounting and auditing policy, as well as improving the professional performance of public company auditors. The office works to enhance the transparency and relevancy of financial reporting and to ensure that financial statements are presented fairly and have credibility.

“Jim’s broad expertise in accounting, reporting, and risk management will help foster investor confidence by holding companies accountable for their financial reporting requirements,” SEC Chair Mary Jo White said in a statement. “His deep knowledge of accounting and auditing standards, coupled with his extensive experience interacting with regulators and accounting and auditing standard setters, will be invaluable to the commission.”

Teresa Polley, president and CEO of the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF), the parent organization of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), congratulated the SEC on its choice for chief accountant.

“Mr. Schnurr has an extensive background in working with the SEC and other important accounting organizations on key accounting, financial reporting, and auditing issues. During the course of his distinguished career, he has demonstrated a commitment to interpret and apply standards in a manner that promotes the transparency, quality, and usefulness of financial reporting,” Polley said in a statement. “We at the FAF, the FASB, and the GASB look forward to working with Mr. Schnurr in his new role.”

Schnurr was Deloitte’s vice chairman and senior professional practice director before he recently retired from the firm. He began his career at Deloitte in 1975 and became a partner in 1985. Schnurr was a senior partner for mergers and acquisition services from 1994 to 2002 and a deputy managing partner of the firm’s professional practice from 2002 to 2009, where he was responsible for quality control and risk management of the firm’s audit and advisory services.

Schnurr also has served on various working and advisory groups of the FASB, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, and the American Institute of CPAs.

He received his undergraduate degree from the College of the Holy Cross and his MBA from Rutgers University.

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