Hester Pierce attacks SEC warnings about cryptography for accounting firms

Hester Pierce, a United States Securities and Exchange Commission commissioner, argued that full transparency should not come

 at the cost of compromising good-faith efforts.

Commissioner Hester Pierce of the United States 

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has raised concerns about the agency’s recent statement advising accounting firms 

against taking on non-audit work for crypto firms.

In a July 28 tweet, Pierce challenged the recent statement by the SEC’s 

chief accountant Paul Munter, proposing that accounting firms 

adopt an all-or-nothing approach in their dealings with crypto firms.

 Pierce believes this might cause crypto firms to shy away 

from making good-faith efforts to be transparent.
While Pierce noted that crypto firms

 and accountants should ensure transparency regarding proof

 of reserves, specifying what is and isn’t acceptable, 

she questioned why accounting firms should be cautious of providing assurance work to crypto firms. 

“Why would we want to discourage good-faith efforts to provide more transparency?” Pierce asked in a tweet.

Munter argued that partial engagements might result in 

crypto firms selectively choosing only certain aspects of the business to 

show accounting firms and then presenting that information as a full audit to clients. 
He believes that work beyond a full audit’s scope will lack transparency for investors, stating:

“Certain crypto asset trading platforms, 

with others in the crypto industry,

 have marketed to investors their retention of third parties, 

sometimes accounting firms, to perform some sort of review of 

certain parts of their business, often presented as 

a purported “audit.“
According to Munter, if an accounting firm discovers that a client is making misleading statements about its non-audit work to

 the public, it should consider making a “noisy withdrawal,

 disassociating itself from the client” by making a public 

statement or reporting the crypto firm to the SEC.
Mike Shaub, an auditing and accounting ethics 

professor at Texas A&M University, responded to the statement 

in a July 29 tweet, mentioning that auditors are

 obligated by confidentiality, making it challenging to

 make public statements like Munter suggested.

Shaub also highlighted the issue of some accounting 

firms aligning themselves with cryptocurrency expertise 

to boost their reputation but becoming unresponsive when problems arise.

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