Government and Regulatory Investigations Concerning Accountants
Sidley has extensive experience representing accounting firms and individual accountants in connection with government and regulatory investigations. We assist accounting firms and accountants in connection with informal inquiries and formal investigations conducted by the SEC. We have successfully advocated our clients’ positions through the Wells process and, where necessary, have defended them in formal proceedings, including those brought under Rule 102(e). We regularly deal with SEC staff, both in the Home Office and in all of the SEC’s regional offices throughout the country. We also have broad experience with SEC matters that proceed concurrently with investigations by the Department of Justice or other federal agencies. Our familiarity with the procedures and the issues at stake allows us to make the most persuasive case possible against enforcement action. As in traditional litigation matters, we provide an early assessment of the case, so as to advise our clients how to approach an SEC investigation in the most sensible manner.
A number of our lawyers also have represented clients before the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), Commodity Futures Trading Commission, federal financial regulatory agencies and state licensing boards. We represent our clients in enforcement matters before the PCAOB, as well as provide advice to our clients with respect to PCAOB regulatory matters. We also have represented clients who have been subpoenaed to testify before federal or state grand juries, involving some of the largest investigations undertaken by the federal government.
Sidley lawyers practicing in this area include several former regulators and prosecutors, including former high-level officials in the SEC’s Enforcement Division, both in the Home Office and in various regional offices. We have represented accounting firms and individuals in a variety of investigations relating to audit clients in numerous industries, including computer equipment, consumer products, drug retailing, energy, healthcare, internet advertising, retailing, software, sub-prime lending, technology and waste disposal. Such representations have addressed numerous accounting issues, including issues relating to accounting for stock options, barter transactions, deferred tax assets, derivatives, inventories, loan loss reserves, research and development costs, revenue recognition, pensions and technology licenses. We also assist accounting firms and individuals in connection with special investigations conducted by boards and board committees of accounting firm clients.