Commentary: Auditors And Clients: Too Close For Comfort

It seems like a simple enough concept: An accounting firm should be free of influence from the companies it audits. But recent accounting breakdowns at Livent, Cendant, and other public companies are heating up debate over whether today's auditors are independent enough. "Accounting firms would prefer we think these are isolated instances and we don't need to do anything," says Lynn Turner, chief accountant at the Securities & Exchange Commission. But he adds: "We have to do something to make sure the auditor is skeptical."

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