Auditing Issues with Chinese Reverse Merger Companies Traded in the United States
Recently there have been two issues related to Chinese companies seeking capital in the United States. The first issue is frauds that have been perpetrated by companies using reverse mergers in order to go public. The second issue is fraud in continuing audit engagements when there has been reliance by an American audit firm on a foreign accountant’s audit work. There is also conflict between the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) demanding to inspect audit workpapers for companies in China and the Chinese government’s refusal to let the PCAOB see these workpapers. These issues relate to characteristics of the practice of accounting and auditing in China that threaten auditor independence and audit quality. The paper discusses: (1) issues involving reverse mergers and the response of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to these issues, (2) issues involving reliance on the work of foreign Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and the response of the PCAOB to these issues, (3) issues involving conflicts between U.S. regulatory agencies and the Chinese government over access to audit-related documents, and (4) suggestions for future research.
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