Monday, December 21, 2009

SEC’s Own Accounting Is Deficient

Apparently, the SEC, top regulator of financial fraud, isn’t up to snuff keeping its own financial books…
We don’t say it’s cooking its books, but it sure looks like if someone wanted, they could cook them quite easily, according to this report at law.com:

“The GAO found that the SEC “did not have effective internal control over its financial reporting as of Sept. 30, 2009.”
As part of its mission, the SEC is charged with enforcing strict financial disclosure rules for public companies. Apparently, it is less adept at policing itself.
For example, the GAO reported that SEC’s general ledger system allows unauthorized personnel to view, manipulate or destroy data, and that “serious unauthorized activity” may remain undetected.
Until the SEC fixes these problems, the GAO found, the SEC can’t be sure “1) its financial statements, taken as a whole, are fairly stated; 2) the information the SEC relies on to make decisions on a daily basis is accurate, complete, and timely; and 3) sensitive data and financial information are appropriately safeguarded.”
Nor could the SEC “provide evidence that it monitored controls over its payroll exception reports to ensure payroll transactions were recorded accurately and timely.”
While the GAO did credit the SEC with producing statements that were “fairly stated in all material respects,” it flagged
“six significant deficiencies” for FY 2008 and 2009.

The six areas are:

• information security;
• financial reporting process;
• fund balance with Treasury;
• registrant deposits;
• budgetary resources;

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