With the spectacular flame-out of Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto exchange FTX, the Armanino and Prager Metis firms have been sued over their audits of its US and international operations; Mazars pulled its “proof of reserve” report on Binance and cut ties with other crypto clients; BDO displayed its anxiety over its crypto client work; the Big Four sit in the background with little show of appetite for crypto’s possibly terminal disruption.
That the crypto sector could be revealed as so toxic as to repel the gate-keepers of the capital markets might once have been beyond imagination –- it long having been an insiders’ wry one-liner that the short wording of a Big Audit engagement letter was, in its entirety, “Will work for food.”
Yet the profession’s retreat from crypto’s trackless wilderness suggests two propositions:
–There actually are activities beyond the auditors’ capability to provide assurance within the standards developed since the invention of independent audit in the Victorian era.
–There actually are enterprises whose plans, strategies and operations, and their management competence and ethos, are so deviant as to make them unsuitably risky as clients.
Source: Crypto-Land –- The Accountants Discover That It’s Terra Incognita – Re:Balance — Jim Peterson