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广州金融翻译公司:如何监管“四大”?

作者: 来源: 日期:2016/8/29 8:29:49

Leader_Accountancy’s Big Four need more competition

FT社评:如何监管“四大”?

 

广州金融翻译公司:开放会计师事务所的所有权,甚至拆分“四大”,或许是动摇这个行业,从而催生健康竞争的唯一方式。

 

There has been plenty of blame to go around for the financial crisis and the scandals it exposed. Most of this has bespattered the bankers, but some have also adhered to their perceived accomplices, including the auditors who signed off on accounts that were quickly exposed as fraudulent.

人们对金融危机及其暴露出来的丑闻多有指责。其中大部分是针对银行家的指责,但也有一些指向了人们眼中银行家的同伙,包括在那些后来很快被曝存在欺诈的账目上签字的审计师。广州金融翻译公司。

 

Last week, a Florida jury started hearing evidence in the latest of these cases: a lawsuit brought by the trustee of a failed US mortgage lender, Taylor, Bean & Whitaker, against PwC. The plaintiff is seeking $5.5bn in damages from the global accounting firm for failing to detect a massive fraud perpetrated by TBW’s own executives in cahoots with another lender, Colonial Bank, which collapsed in 2009.

 

最近,美国佛罗里达州的一个陪审团开始听取一个最新案件的证据:倒闭的抵押贷款机构Taylor, Bean & Whitaker(TBW)的托管人起诉普华永道(PwC)。原告以这家全球会计师事务所未能发现TBW的高管与另一家贷款机构、2009年倒闭的Colonial Bank合谋犯下一起大规模欺诈为由,要求被告赔偿损失55亿美元。

 

While the case is complex, it raises familiar questions for the accounting profession — ones that stretch back at least as far as the Enron fraud 15 years ago. What duties should auditors have placed on them for rooting out bad behaviour? And how can this oligopolistic industry be overhauled to prevent firms slipping into cozy complicity with their clients — the very condition in which blind eyes are most likely to be turned to malpractice and fraud.

尽管案情很复杂,但此案对会计师职业提出了熟悉的问题——这些问题至少可以追溯到15年前的安然(Enron,见上图)欺诈案。审计师应该承担起什么样的职责来铲除不当行为?应该如何对这个寡头垄断行业进行整改,以防止这些会计师事务所滑入与客户串通一气的境地——一旦二者串通一气,审计师就很有可能对不当行为和欺诈视而不见。广州金融翻译公司。

 

Auditing is not just a business; it is an important public service. Without confidence in the veracity of companies’ reported numbers, the machinery of capitalism can become gummed up, with serious consequences for society.

审计不仅是一个行业,也是一种重要的公共服务。如果人们无法相信企业报表数字的真实性,资本主义的运作机制可能陷入危机,这将给社会带来严重后果。

 

Granted, auditors see their role as akin to watchdogs rather than forensic bloodhounds. But even so, the so-called Big Four have a poor record when it comes to sniffing out bad conduct. Their misses include the collapse of MF Global and Lehman Brothers, as well as Xerox’s accounting shenanigans, and Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

诚然,审计师认为他们的角色更接近监督者,而非寻找证据的侦探。但即使如此,所谓的“四大”会计师事务所在发现不当行为方面的记录也欠佳。它们漏掉的包括MF Global和雷曼兄弟(Lehman Brothers)倒闭、施乐(Xerox)的会计欺诈,以及伯纳德•马多夫(Bernard Madoff)的庞氏骗局。

 

One can question whether the profession has done enough to address these shortcomings. True, the rules require auditors to “obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether caused by error or fraud”. But attempts to move audit judgments beyond the traditional pass/fail review towards a more nuanced assessment of risk have been halting, both in the US and Europe.

人们可能会质疑审计师这个职业为解决这些缺陷做得够不够。的确,准则要求审计师“对财务报表是否不存在由于错误或舞弊导致的重大错报获取合理保证”。但在美国和欧洲,把审计判断从传统的通过/不通过扩展成更细致的风险评估的尝试陷入停滞。广州金融翻译公司。

 

In any case, for such reforms to work, auditors must first remember that investors are their true constituency. That means they should not get too cosy with bosses who sign contracts.

在任何情况下,这些改革要起到效果,审计师必须首先记住,投资者才是他们真正的主顾。这意味着他们不应该和与他们签合同的企业老板关系过于密切。

 

Attempts to inculcate more independence among auditors have so far been too timid. While Europe has cautiously embraced mandatory rotation, the US profession has successfully pushed back attempts to force big companies to rotate between auditors over time. The authorities need to be bolder. Auditors and bosses are most likely to become too chummy if incumbents feel they can retain mandates without any realistic likelihood of replacement.

到目前为止,给审计师灌输更多独立思想的尝试还过于小心翼翼。尽管欧洲已经谨慎采取强制轮换制,但美国的审计行业成功阻止了强制大公司轮换审计师的尝试。这些当局需要更加大胆。如果现任审计师认为他们还能继续留任,不存在任何轮换的实际可能,他们和企业老板就很有可能变得过于亲密。

 

In any case, reform should go beyond rotation. The Big Four make more money from non-audit businesses like consulting. They have a stake therefore in not upsetting companies to whom they want to sell other services. There are some limits on cross-selling but these too should be tightened.

在任何情况下,改革都不应止步于轮换。四大会计师事务所从咨询等非审计业务中赚的钱更多。因此,它们有商业利益不去惹恼它们还想推销其他服务的企业。现在对于交叉销售有一些限制,但这些限制也应该收紧。广州金融翻译公司。

 

More broadly, the auditing business needs more competition. Four big firms are too few, not least because their very scarcity makes the application of strict regulation more difficult.

更广泛地说,审计业需要更多的竞争。只有四大所还是太少,尤其是这种情况还使推行严格的监管变得更困难。

 

Encouraging new entrants should be a priority. Yet market rules requiring qualified auditors to control audit firms makes it very hard to find third-party funding for new ventures. Opening up the ownership of auditing firms, or even breaking up the Big Four, may yet be the only way to shake up the industry and create the competition that it still clearly requires.

应优先鼓励新事务所进入这个行业。然而市场规则要求符合资格的审计师控制会计师事务所,因此很难为新所找到第三方资金。开放会计师事务所的所有权,甚至拆分四大,或许是动摇这个行业,产生其显然亟需的竞争的唯一方式。

 

广州金融翻译公司

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