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US Treasury Names Panel To Study Auditing Profession

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

04 October 2007

US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on Tuesday announced the members of the Treasury Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession, whose mandate is to make recommendations to restore investor trust in the auditing profession in the US.

"Investor trust in the integrity of our capital markets is vital to the strength of the US economy," Paulson commented. "Investor trust is based on accurate financial reporting, and a vibrant auditing profession is essential for a well-functioning financial reporting system. This Committee has been chartered to develop recommendations as to what can best be done to sustain a vibrant auditing profession, a profession whose work is critical to investor confidence in our capital markets."

Paulson has announced a series of initiatives this year to enhance US capital market competitiveness, one of his top priorities since taking office. Areas of focus include strengthening financial reporting, and seeking a more sustainable auditing profession.

The committee will examine auditing industry concentration, financial soundness, audit quality, and employee recruitment and retention, in addition to other topics. The Treasury expects the committee to produce findings and recommendations by early summer 2008.

The committee structure is designed to encourage an open and public discussion, with no predetermined outcomes. Meetings will be open to public attendance and comment, via the Committee website. Paulson revealed that the Committee members represent a broad range of perspectives, including investors, auditors, large and small public companies, insurance companies, lawyers and regulators. Treasury also selected official observers representing the domestic and international regulatory and policy bodies.

"We need to understand whether our markets are producing the high-quality audits and attracting the talented auditors we need," Paulson added. "There are legitimate questions about the sustainability of the auditing profession's business model and concern about the high degree of auditor concentration among the largest public companies."

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