SEC Seeks to Fill One of the Toughest Accounting Jobs
The Securities and Exchange Commission introduced the final week that leader accountant Wes Bricker turned into stepping down after navigating a 3-yr length of transformation in the accounting and auditing profession.
Bricker supervised the implementation of ancient accounting requirements and arrangements for a third. And he oversaw the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board because it transitioned to new management despite everything. Five members of the audit regulator were replaced in 2017.
The submit serves an essential function in a career that shares strength across the enterprise, independent general-setters, and the government, said Heidi Bartholomew, a controller and monetary reporting veteran of FedEx Ground, a division of FedEx Corp., who now teaches at the University of Pittsburgh.
“The character who sits in that chair at the SEC through definition simply has to be one of the essential accountants, no longer simply within the united states,” she said. “The relaxation of the sector seems to us.”
In the pressure-cooker surroundings of Washington, it’s not unusual for authorities leaders to step down after three years. For Bricker to serve six years, including his tenure as deputy leader accountant and an accounting fellow.
“He’s written his price tag to the grand accounting corridor of fame now. He can do something he wants,” Bartholomew said. She stated that someone with Bricker’s experience should land at a Big Four accounting company, an employer, or academia.
Bricker told Bloomberg Tax he couldn’t say yet wherein he became headed subsequent and didn’t remark further. The SEC named Sagar Teotia an acting leader—an appointment generally made to ensure that someone leads the office while the commission searches for a successor. It hasn’t disclosed a timetable or the parameters of its seeking.
Challenges Ahead: CECL, CAMs
The subsequent chief accountant may be tasked with enforcing the revenue recognition and leasing requirements and supporting to make clear the SEC’s enforcement focus, stated Scott Taub. The latter two times served as acting chief accountant.
“The assignment of managing alternate in accounting standards will possibly decrease for the subsequent chief accountant than it turned into for Wes because there can be less trade to control,” Taub stated.
Still, the subsequent leader accountant will oversee a debatable accounting exchange rollout in how banks and insurers calculate estimated losses on loans and different economic contraptions, stated Jack Ciesielski, an impartial accounting analyst.
The banking enterprise and Congress members have repeatedly sought to delay the 2020 effective date. An essential exchange in audit requirements additionally awaits Bricker’s successor. Annual economic statements will consist of a comprehensive audit document detailing basic subjects that were complex and subjective beginning this summertime.
But making sure that the brand new communications, referred to as essential audit topics, or CAMS, might be meaningful and no longer be boilerplate would require regular reminders and coax from the SEC.
Ciesielski said whether the PCAOB makes suitable pledges to change how the regulator operates remains an open query for the subsequent leader accountant.
Managing alternate on the PCAOB will require it to coordinate with the SEC to turn those promises into concrete reforms, said Taub, who has back to the personal zone and is now managing director of Financial Reporting Advisors LLC.
Under new leadership, the board pledged to revise its inspection technique, reply more excellently, and be more transparent. A yr-and-a-1/2 later, the board has crammed vital leadership positions, has made a few tweaks to its inspection technique, and is centered on implementing the modifications within the auditor’s document.
Tom Selling, a creator, consultant, and semi-retired professor, hopes the SEC chooses a person with a vision to make typically wide-spread accounting ideas more applicable to buyers and doubtlessly lessen their reliance on non-GAAP metrics.
“It’s the Wild West out there,” he said of the proliferation of adjusted ratios and metrics that pressure investment choices. He recommended the SEC’s technique to allow the usage of non-GAAP metrics, with sure boundaries, isn’t working.
“Can we make GAAP higher, or must we comprise non-GAAP?” Selling said. “Maybe we need to think greater out-of-the-box about what GAAP measures would trump this,” he said.
New Standards, Audit Governance
Bricker played a vital role in assisting the Financial Accounting Standards Board to implement and resolve implementation troubles with primary new accounting requirements, said Thomas Linsmeier, a former FASB member and now a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Those rules overhauled revenue recognition and rent reporting, shifting income and exposing trillions of greenbacks in lengthy-term obligations. Preparing for the two back-to-returned modifications took agencies and their auditors years of labor. But Bricker deserves credit for ensuring the regulations have been implemented and introduced to buyers on time, Ciesielski said.