SEC names Beswick to chief accountant post

BY KEN TYSIAC

Paul Beswick recently confessed that he enjoys reading about the evolution of accounting standards throughout history.

Now Beswick has a chance to make his own historical mark as chief accountant of the SEC. On Friday, the SEC announced that Beswick, who had been serving as acting chief accountant since James Kroeker’s departure for the private sector in July, will retain the post.

Beswick has been a member of the SEC staff since September 2007 and was deputy chief accountant before Kroeker’s departure. Beswick served as staff director of an SEC effort to evaluate the idea of incorporating IFRS into the financial reporting system for U.S. public companies.

That effort resulted in a document released in July that explained the benefits and challenges associated with IFRS but did not make a recommendation.

“Paul has served the commission with great distinction and provided wise counsel on difficult accounting questions,” SEC Chairman Elisse Walter said in a statement. “Investors and the accounting profession will benefit with Paul as the chief accountant.”

Beswick will lead the SEC’s Office of the Chief Accountant, which establishes and enforces accounting and auditing policy to maintain transparency and relevance of financial reporting.

Before joining the SEC, Beswick was a partner with Ernst & Young LLP’s Professional Practice and Risk Management Group. He also was a practice fellow at FASB.

The announcement adds a measure of stability to a commission that has seen numerous changes in the past month. The SEC announced on Nov. 26 that Mary Schapiro would step down as chairman, and Walter immediately was named her successor.

Division of Corporation Finance Director Meredith Cross, General Counsel Mark Cahn, Trading and Markets Director Robert Cook, and Chief of Staff Didem Nisanci all announced in December that they are leaving the commission. Acting directors have been named for the divisions of Corporation Finance (Lona Nallengara) and Trading and Markets (John Ramsay).

Ken Tysiac ( ktysiac@aicpa.org ) is a JofA senior editor.

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