In a big blow to the Securities and Exchange Commission, Scott A. Taub, deputy chief accountant in the Office of the Chief Accountant, will leave the regulator later this year.
Taub is credited with playing a key role in the Commission’s implementation of the accounting reforms under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. He also was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Office of the Chief Accountant, including resolution of accounting and auditing practice issues, rulemaking, oversight of private sector standard-setting efforts, and regulation of auditors, according to the regulator.
“The Office will miss Scott’s tremendous talents and invaluable insight, and I regret not having the pleasure to work with Scott for a longer period of time,” said Conrad Hewitt, the Commission’s chief accountant, in a statement. “America’s investors and capital markets have truly benefited from Scott’s many accomplishments in public service at the agency, Hewitt added.
Taub, who had served as acting chief accountant for nine months, returned to the number two position in September 2002, after Hewitt filled the SEC’s top accounting spot. Taub was a Professional Accounting Fellow in the Office of the Chief Accountant between 1999 and 2001. He spent most of career, however, with Arthur Andersen, having joined the one-time auditing giant after graduating from the University of Michigan in 1990. Taub did not say what he will do after he leaves the SEC.
As CFO.com reported last week, Taub told conference goers at the Financial Executives International annual confab that about 55 percent of recent company restatements were due to the misapplication of basic accounting rules or to problems with the actual data used in the original calculation. He also pointed out that about a third of restatements in recent years were due to errors in judgment related to more-complex issues, industry practices that ran afoul of accounting rules, and lack of clarity in accounting standards.
Taub stressed that just five percent of restatements were due to deliberate errors or fraud. He also called on companies to provide feedback on complex accounting questions and suggested that companies forced to restate results disclose how they discovered the problem.