Audit Integrity has made public its report of the best accounting and governance companies in the United States.
The companies' Accounting & Governance Risk (AGR) rating is a direct and comprehensive measure of corporate integrity. Scores range from 0 (lowest) to 100 (highest). The following companies posted the highest AGR rating in their categories for the current quarter:
Large Cap $5 Billion and Up
AllianceBernstein Hold LP, 88 AGR
Mid Cap $1 Billion to $5 Billion
Bemis Company, Inc., 88 AGR
Small Cap $250 Million to $1 Billion
Dollar Financial Corp., 88 AGR
Fred's Inc., 88 AGR
OPNET Technologies, Inc., 88 AGR
The five-page review, including the list of public companies, is available at http://www.auditintegrity.com.
In a year of continuing corporate scandals, such as back-dated options, executive compensation issues and insider trading, the Top 100 firms highlighted in the report, "avoided those pitfalls and won Audit Integrity's recognition for transparency in financial reporting and management aligned with the interests of corporate stakeholders," the company said in a statement.
Companies with high integrity - and therefore fewer litigations, financial restatements, compliance issues and related negative events - have tended to earn higher returns than their peers, according to Audit Integrity. The Top 100 averaged 33.4 percent returns during 2006, compared with overall market returns of less than half that level.
"While our primary focus is helping our clients manage risk, we are pleased to see a confirmation of our risk methodology in market returns," said James A. Kaplan, chairman and founder of Audit Integrity. "Investors respond positively to trustworthy, transparent management and negatively to scandals and risky behavior."
Audit Integrity's AGR ratings are monitored by insurers, auditors, investors and other concerned corporate stakeholders to assess and manage their risk in dealing with public companies. The ratings include forensic accounting techniques and evaluation of behavior and motivation in corporate governance. The AGR Profiles, updated with each quarterly reporting, offer specifics on questionable behaviors and their risk implications.
"Our subscribers already have access to our ratings of these firms, as well as 8,000 others. But we felt these top-rated firms deserved a public acknowledgment," said Jack Zwingli, CEO of Audit Integrity.