Accounting Firm Trades In SEC Practice for Governance Practice

Many accounting firms expanded into providing corporate governance services in the wake of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, but very few have also divested themselves of their own public company clients.

Citrin Cooperman & Company, LLP, the nation’s 37th largest accounting firm, didn’t immediately jump on the bandwagon when it became apparent that internal control audits and other SOX-related issues were going to reap great financial rewards for accounting firms.

Instead, when the firm made the decision in 2002 to give up its SEC practice altogether, it spent time studying whether it would be advantageous for the firm to be active in the corporate governance arena.

This week, the firm made the decision to offer clients this value-added service, hiring corporate governance veteran, Michael Rhodes, to lead a corporate governance practice that will focus on offering Section 404 compliance and other corporate governance services to public, private and non-profit companies.

A CPA and veteran consultant on finance and accounting initiatives, Rhodes, who started Monday as Director - Corporate Governance, most recently worked at a large consulting firm where he focused on SOX compliance, business process reengineering, financial and accounting system implementation and other CFO advisory services.

“We thought long and hard about how to ethically and effectively add this service to our practice,” said Citrin Cooperman managing partner, Joel Cooperman. “Since we do not provide attest services to publicly traded companies, we finally realized that we are uniquely qualified to offer public companies this value-added service.

“And once we met Mike, it was clear that he possessed all of the right skills to launch this new niche, and to make it a meaningful and successful addition to our roster of client services,” Cooperman added.

“Citrin Cooperman is exactly the kind of firm I was looking for when I decided I wanted to return to public accounting with a focus squarely on corporate governance issues,” Rhodes said. “I am excited about the prospect of launching this new practice area for the firm, and believe we can - and will - positively impact the way public, private and non-profit companies govern themselves.”

Source, Citrin Cooperman & Co.

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