Regaining Public Trust Our First Priority

BY F. G. HAUGH

The ink of President Bush’s signature, signing the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation into law, is barely dry, and the accounting profession is looking at and writing articles about opportunities to market nonaudit services (“ Period of Adjustment JofA , Feb.03, page 43).

Has it not learned anything from the recent problems with the Enrons of the world, caused, at least in part, by accounting firms focusing on the marketing of other services?

As a profession, we CPAs have a credibility problem about where our loyalties lie. It is all too obvious the public has lost confidence in our ability to provide reliable attest services. Is it not time to devote 100% of our efforts to reestablishing our priorities and their trust?

Let’s forget the marketing of nonaudit services until we can clearly demonstrate an ability to consistently and reliably provide the core services that brought the CPA profession to prominence.

Those who rely on our opinions need to believe the accounting profession is focused on regaining their trust in our ability to provide an opinion through an audit that is truly objective and free of even the appearance that we lack independence.

F. G. Haugh, CPA
Irving, Texas

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