Grant Thornton has set up a three-member Audit Quality Advisory Council, only a week after Ernst & Young made a similar move.
The new council is tasked with advising Grant Thornton’s partnership board on improving the firm’s audits. The trio includes two independent members, Chris Mandaleris and Ann Yerger, in addition to Grant Thornton partnership board member Seth Siegel. EY similarly has a three-member Independent Audit Quality Committee, although in EY’s case all three members are independent (see Ernst & Young sets up an Independent Audit Quality Committee). Both of the independent members of Grant Thornton’s council previously worked for EY.
The major accounting firms are coming under increasing pressure to improve the quality of their audits around the world after some high-profile accounting scandals in the United Kingdom, Europe and South Africa. The U.K. firms of both EY and PricewaterhouseCoopers told lawmakers in the U.K. they have decided to stop doing consulting work for their audit clients, according to Reuters, and KPMG is also phasing out the consulting work for audit clients. In the U.S., the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 already limits the kind of consulting work they can do for their audit clients.
As advisors to Grant Thornton’s partnership board, the council will offer advice on ways GT can provide high audit quality. “At Grant Thornton, we are committed to delivering the highest quality audits to our clients,” said Grant Thornton CEO Mike McGuire in a statement. “Chris, Ann and Seth bring more than 75 years of combined professional services experience to our council and we look forward to working alongside them to strengthen our position as a leader in the profession for quality. This group will, in turn, help make our firm the auditor of choice for companies committed to excellence.”
Mandaleris is a retired audit partner from Ernst & Young who spent 25 years in EY’s audit practice and helped open EY’s office in Greensboro, North Carolina. Most recently, he was the senior deputy director in the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s inspections division. Yerger spent the past 20 years at the Council of Institutional Investors, where she was executive director. She has also served as executive director of EY’s Center for Board Matters, as a member of the PCAOB’s Investor Advisory Group, as a member of the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee, and on the U.S. Treasury Department’s Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession. She is currently a member of Spencer Stuart’s North American Board Practices and is an independent director of Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company, where she chairs the nominating and governance committee and is a member of Hershey’s compensation committee.
Siegel is an audit partner at Grant Thornton and the firm’s Florida audit practice leader. He joined the firm in 1996 and has more than 20 years of public accounting and corporate finance experience. He is a CPA in Florida and a member of the Florida Institute of CPAs and the AICPA.
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