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Posts Tagged ‘auditors’

igNoble Hse omnishambles puts spotlight two int’l accounting firms

In Accounting, China, Commodities, Corporate governance, Emerging markets on 29/12/2018 at 4:03 am

In the coming yr, investors, creditors and S’porean regulators of Noble will be singing

Fee-fi-fo-fum,
I smell the blood of an accountant from Ernst & Young or PricewaterhouseCoopers,
Be he alive, or be he dead
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.

The back story

Noble Group is facing insolvency after authorities in Singapore said the crisis-hit commodity trader would not be able to list shares in a new entity, dealing a potentially fatal blow to its emergency debt restructuring.

Singapore’s white collar crime agency, its de facto central bank and the regulatory arm of the country’s stock exchange said they had “significant uncertainties about the financial position of ‘New Noble’”.

In a statement they said “New Noble’s” net asset value could be as much as 45 per cent lower than stated by the company when local standards stipulated by Singapore’s Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority were applied.

“It would be imprudent to allow the re-listing as investors will not be able to trade in New Noble’s shares on an informed basis. Monetary Authority of Singapore and Singapore Exchange will therefore not allow the re-listing of New Noble to proceed.”

FT a few weeks ago

The auditors were and are the Hong Kong arm of Ernst & Young

But they are not the only ones facing questions.

Noble Group’s Chief Executive Yusuf Alireza sought to draw a line under a long-running accounting dispute after a report by board-appointed auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) found no wrongdoing in the company’s accounting practices.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-noble-group-accounts/pwc-says-noble-groups-accounting-practices-comply-with-rules-idUSKCN0QF0Y420150810

 

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The trouble with auditors

In Accounting, Corporate governance on 05/01/2011 at 5:25 am

Today’s financial industry may be too complex and too subject to opinions for the accountants to get right, even if they want to. Witness PricewaterhouseCoopers, which audited both Goldman Sachs and AIG. At the height of the financial crisis, the exact same securities on each firms’ books were valued at radically different prices. In other words, there was no way to compare the two firms’ results.

The complexity makes the accountants even more susceptible to pressure from management. That pressure is all too real. And the problem in Enron’s case was never the consulting business. It’s that the accountants forgot who they were working for. They’re supposed to work for investors, not management. Their job is to make sure investors have a fair chance at assessing a company’s financial condition.

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Put simply, the unfortunate truth is that corporate bad behavior often pays. Thus, if accountants always behave like homo economicus — the hyper-rational, purely opportunistic hero of economic theory — rampant frauds are only to be expected.

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NYT article