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The Enforcer

The Enforcer

by Rick Turoczy on September 7, 2004

William J. McDonough has a particularly tough job: as chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), he is charged with policing an industry unused to outside regulation and under fire as never before. But judging from his first year on the beat, McDonough won’t hesitate to crack down if necessary. The PCAOB’s initial inspections of Big Four audits found “significant accounting issues,” McDonough recently told Congress. The inspections also identified instances in which they failed to follow generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP (see “Audits: How Bad Is Bad?” at the end of this article). The 70-year-old former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York insists that it is the responsibility of the firms, particularly the Big Four, to “win back the confidence of the American people.” But given the depths of the problems and the power of his position, he isn’t shy about forcing them to.

The Enforcer

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