The accounting crisis everybody seems to ignore, and the regulator fighting to fix it | Fortune

Erica Williams wants the accounting industry to know that there’s a new sheriff in town, and she’s rolling up her sleeves to deal with what her organization has called a “completely unacceptable” rate of accounting errors.

Williams is an outsider brought in to police an audit industry that collects about $5.4 billion in fees from S&P 500 companies each year, and has historically been accustomed to being overseen by friendly insiders. But Williams has brought with her a much greater willingness to lay down the law than her predecessors: the former Obama adviser spent 12 years in enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission, where she dismantled Ponzi schemes and worked closely with the Department of Justice to bring forth civil and criminal charges.

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But under Williams, the first Black woman to chair the organization, the new-look PCAOB has been ringing the alarm bell on what it calls a worrying trend of “unacceptable” accounting errors that continue to rise. Mistakes showed up in 40% of the roughly 800 audits it recently released inspection reports for.

Source: The accounting crisis everybody seems to ignore, and the regulator fighting to fix it | Fortune