Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White faulted companies Wednesday for failing to assess and respond to risks of material misstatement in their financial reports to investors.
“Such failures are totally unacceptable,” she told the national conference of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Washington, D.C.
While repeating an assertion she has made many times that reducing some of the details and complexity in financial reports would make them more palatable for investors, White said there are areas where more disclosure is needed. She mentioned foreign tax disclosure as one.
The SEC chair cautioned the increasing workload of audit committees on boards of directors is taking away from the time they need to spend to adequately oversee independent auditors and internal controls.
In her speech, she praised Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and its chair Jim Doty for raising the bar for auditors and audit quality.
White said investor confidence in audited financial statements and independent auditors is high.