The U.S. securities regulator in March said it wants companies to seek independent certification of certain new disclosures, including estimates of greenhouse-gas emissions from their operations and from the energy they consume. The assurance requirement would apply to companies with at least $250 million in publicly traded shares.
Only certified public accountants can audit public companies’ financial statements, per U.S. securities laws. But, under the SEC’s proposal, the attestation report could be prepared not only by external auditors but also by other service providers, such as an engineering, consulting or certification firm. The Big Four accounting firms—Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers—are pushing for narrower criteria on who can perform this duty, according to letters sent to the SEC as part of a public consultation that ended last month. Meanwhile, some non-accounting firms say technical expertise is important, and other observers say the market is big enough for both types of firms.
‘Enforcement 40’ for 2020
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