How the SEC Plans to Police Accountants

In an exclusive interview, Chairman Pitt details his proposal for an independent monitoring board to oversee the profession

When it comes to cleaning up the accounting industry, Harvey L. Pitt is the man in the middle. After a decade of audit failures and financial meltdowns -- capped by the $50 billion bankruptcy of Enron -- the chairman of the Securities & Exchange Commission on Jan. 17 announced plans for a new, independent oversight board. Its mission: to take over monitoring and peer-review duties from the Big Five and other accounting firms that audit public companies, and to exercise new powers to discipline errant auditors.

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