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Senators Urge 'Caution' in Letter to SEC Chairman

Several members of the Securities Subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs are urging Securities & Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt to extend the comment period on the non-audit services portion of the proposed rules on auditor independence until after February 1, 2001.The extension, if granted, "will allow for careful analysis of the proposed changes," according to the letter. The letter was signed by Securities Subcommittee Chairman Senator Rod Grams, and Senators Evan Bayh, Phil Gramm, Charles E. Schumer, Mike Crapo, Robert F.
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PwC Chief Faces Possible Probe over Audit Violations

PricewaterhouseCoopers partners - including present CEO James Schiro - face possible investigation after a US court refused to dismiss a claim alleging that the Big Five firm had misrepresented audit independence violations at electronic manufacturing firm Emcore. A New Jersey court heard that PwC partners had allegedly held on to shares in its audit client Emcore and so delayed a public offering of the firm in early 1999.
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PWC Makes Changes to Prepare for Break-up

Changes are in the air at PricewaterhouseCoopers.The world's largest accounting and consulting firm has just named Tom O'Neill as the firm's chief operating officer so that Chief Executive James Schiro can spend more time concentrating on the break-up of the firm.O'Neill currently manages the firm's operations in Canada. The most important aspect of the break-up is the impending sale of the firm's consulting practice, valued at $20 billion.
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KPMG Takes a Stab at SEC Auditor Independence Proposals

Terry Strange, Global Managing Partner of Audit for KPMG, took the podium yesterday at the SEC auditor independence hearings, and offered his reservations about the hurried nature of the proposed auditor restrictions as well as the inappropriateness of the barriers to auditing firms providing non-audit services.Noting his complete support of the SEC's desire to modernize independence rules, Strange expressed two troubling aspects of the proposals:The bundling of the much needed revisions of existing rules on investments and family relationships
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Deloitte Demonstrates Commitment to Women's Issues

Deloitte & Touche has released the findings of a survey conducted late last year regarding women in elected positions, particularly as president of the United States.According to CEO James Copeland Jr., the firm commissioned the survey to demonstrate its commitment to women's issues.
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CPA Firms Testify (Briefly) Before SEC

The SEC set aside one hour today for representatives from three of the Big 5 CPA firms to make their claims that proposed auditor independence guidelines would impede progress, prevent firms from attracting professionals with necessary specialized skills, reduce competition among CPA firms, increase costs of services, and in general make life miserable for CPA firms that provide consulting services along with traditional auditing services.Stating that CPA firms already enjoy a high level of independence standards and professional ethics, such standards and ethics being applicable to consult
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Showdown with the SEC

Representatives from CPA firms, educational institutions, and accounting regulatory agencies will present testimony today before the Securities & Exchange Commission in an attempt to have their say about the proposed guidelines to limit the auditors’ scope of services.
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KPMG Slams 'Irrelevant' SEC Auditor Independence Rules

KPMG has attacked the Securities & Exchange Commission's rulings for auditor independence as "irrelevant and based entirely on misperception" on the eve of a public hearing looking into the proposals.The SEC is due to hear evidence from leading figures from the profession, including representatives of KPMG, Arthur Anderesen and Deloitte & Touche, in a marathon event scheduled for this Wednesday in Washington DC.Neil Lerner, head of European Risk Management at KPMG UK, said that the SEC's actions would be disastrous for the major fir
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ACCPAC Increases Market Share With SBT Acquisition

ACCPAC International, Inc. just announced that the company has fully acquired SBT Accounting Systems.'In today's marketplace, everybody is facing critical resource shortages, particular in current technologies,' says Colorado CPA Wayne Harding, vice president of Outsourcing Services for Great Plains. 'It makes sense to take redundant efforts, particularly in companies who have the same kind of strategy, and merge them together.'Toronto-based Robert Lavery, vice president of Strategic Alliances for ACCPAC, agrees.
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Andersen Hires Top Gun Lawyer to Fight SEC

In the wake of the highly publicized conflict-of-interest hearings by the Securities and Exchange Commission to limit the activities of auditors offering audit and consulting services, Arthur Andersen has engaged the services of Attorney David Boies and his colleague, David Barrett.A trial lawyer working for the U.S.
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Andersen Names New Chief Exec

The latest personnel change at Big 5 firm Arthur Andersen truly signals another step for the firm in changing its business philosophies and operating strategies.Andersen created a new position called 'chief executive,' and named Terry Hatchett to take the post. He will handle strategic and management issues while he shares this position with Managing Partner Jim Wadia, who is the firm's current CEO.Hatchett most recently headed up Andersen's Asia Pacific practice.
Community News

7 Firms Combine to Form 13th Largest CPA Firm

The principals of seven highly successful professional services firms have merged their ownership stakes to form Centerprise Advisors, Inc., the 13th largest professional services firm in the country and one of the largest full-service firms focusing on the middle market.The founding companies include five professional services firms: Follmer, Rudzewicz & Co. of Southfield Mich.; Grace & Co. of St.
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Ruling Imminent on Andersen Split

Arthur Andersen and Andersen Consulting are awaiting news from the International Chambers of Commerce in Paris about the arbitrator's decision in their two-and-a-half year "divorce" case.In an interview with Dow Jones Newswires, Guillermo Gamba, the Columbian lawyer who was appointed by the ICC to arbitrate between the Big Five accountant and its consulting offshoot, said he had submitted his ruling to the ICC.Gamba would not divulge what he had decided and the firms themselves have yet to hear.
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E&Y Offers New International Tax Service

The Ernie Online Tax Advisor has been around for a year and has fielded more than 15,000 tax questions from Ernst & Young clients. The new service, dubbed the Ernst & Young Online Tax Advisor, will incorporate the ability to field questions from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.The service provides answers within four business days.
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AICPA Steps up Fight Against Auditor Restrictions

Proposals to restrict the non-audit services an auditor can perform for a client could be against the public interest, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has warned.AICPA president Barry Melancon told the told the Panel on Audit Effectiveness, which is reviewing Securities and Exchange Commission plans to limit an auditor's relationship with the client, that - with the right safeguards - a firm can offer a variety of services and still carry out a reliable audit.
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Big 5 Sweep KMWorld's Best 100 List

KMWorld is the self-described leading information provider serving the Knowledge Management systems market, and they have just published their list of 100 top companies in the Knowledge Management arena. All five members of the Big 5 grace the list.The 100 Companies that Matter, according to KMWorld, are those that best exhibit the qualities of market makers, solutions technology makers, solutions service makers, and infrastructure technology makers. What does all this mean?
Community News

Big 5's US Legal Plans Dealt Killer Blow

Now accountants will find it difficult to gain a foothold to the US legal market - a key target for the Big Five, who employ thousands of lawyers themselves.Three-quarters of US lawyers rejected "multi-disciplinary partnerships," (MDPs) which join lawyers with other professionals.
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EY South Africa Splits its Practice

Ernst & Young South Africa has announced that it has officially separated its accounting and consulting units.The consulting unit, which will be called 'Argil Ernst & Young Consulting,' was purchased by Worldwide African Investment Holdings, a major black empowerment group that already has an established relationship with EY, having formed a 60/40 joint venture last year.The new unit's main business focuses will be on the oil industry, telecommunications and financia
Community News

EY Wins Coveted <i>CIO</i> Magazine Award

Ernst & Young was named to the top 50 list of the most impressive intranet sites by CIO magazine.The Web Business 50/50 Award annually honors the top 50 Internet and intranet sites in the marketplace for the best use of technology and design that reflects the organization's goals.
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Lift of Louisiana ban on Fees Good for 1st Global

The recent lift of all bans on commissions and contingency fees has been profitable for Dallas, TX-based 1st Global, a financial services company with more than 1,000 affiliate firms, including 180 large accounting firms.1st Global has enjoyed success in the last several years in recruiting firms to join as affiliates to provide clients financial services of various kinds.Until the ban was lifted in Louisiana, firms operating in the state were prohibited from entering into financial services transactions in which fees and commissions were part of th

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