April 22, 2022

Staff Comments: Letters Declined but Scrutiny Rose

According to this Audit Analytics blog, the number of Staff comment letters declined sharply in 2021, but those that were issued generated a lot of back & forth between issuers and the Staff. Audit Analytics calls this back & forth a “conversation” and says that the number of letters per conversation rose to its highest level in the past five years, suggesting that the SEC is scrutinizing responses more closely than in recent years. Not surprisingly, Audit Analytics says this was particularly true with regard to climate change comments – each of those conversations involved more than one comment letter.

The top areas that generated Staff comment have remained relatively constant over the past five years. In 2021, MD&A led the way (31% of comment letters), followed closely by Non-GAAP (27%). 8-K disclosures (10%), segment reporting (9%) and revenue recognition (8%).

John Jenkins