Levitt Castigates Big Five

After two days of public hearings, listening to members of the accounting profession voice their concerns about the proposed auditor independence guidelines which would limit the scope of services that can be performed by auditing firms, Levitt seems undaunted in his mission to change the face of public accounting.

According to Levitt, the leadership of the Big Five has been "more concerned with expanding their role so broadly that, all too often, the audit responsibility becomes more of a business line used to get a foot in the door for other, more profitable services."

"I believe the time has come for the profession's own broader membership -- the smaller, independent accounting firms -- to stand up and take back what some are trying to take from them: the pride and privilege of serving the American public and its investors as the most rigorous, objective and independent accountants in the world," Levitt said.

The SEC has been listening to public hearings where interested parties can voice their views on the proposed auditor guidelines. Prior hearing dates have been July 26 and September 13, and a third day of hearings is scheduled for Wednesday, September 20. The SEC has agreed to add a fourth, final date this Thursday, September 21, specifically to appease disgruntled members of the Big Five who feel their voices have not been heard on this issue.

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