June 28, 2004

New US Sentencing Guidelines Under

The new, updated US sentencing guidelines – which promise to force companies to make dramatic changes to their compliance programs over the next few months – came under fire after last Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court 5-4 decision that invalidated a Washington state law as unconstitutional. The US Supreme Court’s ruling invalidates sentencing guidelines in at least 9 states.

Learn more about this development – as well as what you need to be doing now in the wake of the updated US sentencing guidelines – on our July 21st webcast – “How the New Sentencing Guidelines Impact You.”

PCAOB Chairman Warns of Significant Issues at the Big 4

Late last week, PCAOB Chairman William McDonough testified on the Hill that the PCAOB identified “significant audit and accounting issues” in its preliminary inspections of the Big 4. While these initial inspections were more limited than the full inspections will be next year, McDonough said the PCAOB “learned a great deal about quality control in the largest firms.”

Under Sarbanes-Oxley, the PCAOB will be inspecting the Big 4 annually and launched its inspection program in 2003 with “limited procedures” inspections of these firms. McDonough said the latest inspection reports have been made available to the Big 4, which now have 30 days to respond. Once the firms respond, the PCAOB will finalize its reports and deliver them to the SEC. While certain portions of the reports will be made public, Sarbanes-Oxley limits the PCAOB as it must keep any potential defects in a specific firm’s quality-control system confidential, as long as the firm corrects the problems within 12 months.

Reasons Why Executives Should Want A Sound Compensation-Setting Process

Reflecting the nature of the task force submissions on (ie. in some cases, contrary to old ways of thinking), a number of the submissions have been submitted anonymously – including one regarding “Reasons Why Executives Should Want A Sound Compensation-Setting Process.”