RSM US LLP Statement Regarding SEC Order
On August 27, 2019, RSM US LLP (“RSM US”) entered into a consent order with the SEC. The order relates to RSM US’s 2014 and 2015 independence controls designed to detect and prohibit the provision of non-audit services to RSM US audit clients, or their international affiliated companies, by persons and international firms associated with RSM US. Notably, the SEC makes no finding that RSM US’s objectivity or impartiality – bedrock elements to auditor independence – were impaired, and specifically finds that “[i]n each instance, the audit teams were unaware of the prohibited non-audit services or relationship.”
Many of the issues that are the subject of the order are similar to those facing other firms, as shown by the significant public commentary from the profession on the SEC’s rule, Auditor Independence with Respect to Certain Loans or Debtor-Creditor Relationships, in 2018. RSM US supports the efforts by the SEC and accounting profession to review the application and impact of the independence rules in the context of performing non-audit services in today’s world which spawns complex, attenuated global business relationships.
During the years subsequent to 2013, RSM US has significantly enhanced its independence controls. The SEC specifically credits RSM US for the remedial measures it has taken “to enhance its existing policies, procedures, systems, and training over time regarding auditor independence” including with respect to training, discipline, client acceptance and continuance procedures, personnel and conflicts checks. Nonetheless, RSM US is continuing to analyze and consider ways that it can further strengthen its independence processes, procedures and controls and is embracing this as an opportunity to emerge as a leader in this arena.
RSM US is committed to the highest standards of integrity and audit quality and looks forward to continuing to provide the excellence in auditing its clients have come to expect of RSM US.