Maybe SOX Isn’t the Problem After all? Maybe it is External Audit!

Posted by Teresa Bockwoldt on November 3, 2009

I had another thought on this topic.

There is a real conflict of interest between using for profit, private external auditors to audit the financials and internal controls of any company.  Think of it this way for the external auditors; on one hand, you have a company whose purpose is to serve their clients and make a profit (and a tidy one at that). On the other hand, you have a company whose responsibility is to the general public to produce an unbiased report on the accuracy of a company's financials.  I've seen external auditors be put in a serious bind because they are torn between these two responsibilities; a client is freaking out over the time and complexity of the audit and threatens the auditor with replacement if they do not do what the client wants.  That same auditor cannot do what the client wants because it would not be in the best interest of the, they face firing or come to some sort of compromise to save their job but who is left holding the short-end of the stick?  The shareholders because the black and white truth was not told.  Perhaps the only way to save public companies from the excessive expense of complying with the requirements of being public is to further the responsibility of the Public Companies Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and take the external audit requirements away from private companies and put it into the hands of those that would truly be unbiased; the governing bodies who impose the regulations themselves.  These same governing bodies could help control the costs of the audits as well which would help everyone.

I know, unlikely, but this has crossed my mind on many occasions.

All my best,

Teresa Bockwoldt MBA, MST
CEO & Co-Founder

Vibato, LLC
655 Montgomery Street, 5th Floor, Suite 540 San Francisco, CA 94111
Office: 415.240.4867 | Mobile: 707.477.0008 | Fax: 888.407.7725 | SOX Compliance Made Simple® |

Tags: 404, 404 audit, audit costs, Sarbanes-Oxley