Government Regulation of Business
Government Regulation of Business
The federal government plays a major role in regulating business in the United States, which is aimed at protecting the citizens of America from exploitation and ensure fairness in the market (Mallor et al., 2015). Some of the federal regulations in the securities markets are meant to prevent corrupt practices, improve transparency in the market, and ensure ethical conduct of all organizations and those involves in conducting business activities in the United States (Mallor et al., 2015). The federal government of the United States has formed the Securities and Exchange Commission to govern and regulate the financial statements of organizations. Some of the requirements include the provision of financial information to the public. This information is aimed at helping these individual in making informed decisions related to their provision of important resources to the organization (Mallor et al., 2015).
Regulation of Financial Reporting
The Securities and Exchange Commission has delegated some of its responsibilities to the Financial Accounting Standards Board to help the commission in enforcing the stated standards. Some of the requirements of organizations include the disclosure of audited financial statements as well as any related information in their annual reports (Mallor et al., 2015). This provides more information related to the financial statements, which stakeholders may be missing. The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) also plays a role in the different countries including the United States on financial reporting (Mallor et al., 2015).
This board requires organizations to provide financial information, which is useful to all stakeholders and other individuals who include lenders and potential, investors. There are many acts, which have been enacted to regulate financial reporting in the United States (Mallor et al., 2015). These include the Securities Act of 1933, the Securities exchange Act of 1934, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board auditing standards effective December 31, 2016 (Mallor et al., 2015).
The Securities Act of 1933
The United States Congress enacted this act on May 1933 after the crash of the stock market in 1929 leading to the great depression. The goals of this Act was to ensure that there was transparency in the publicizing of financial statements to provide accurate information to investors as they make important decisions related to organizations (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018). This required all issuers to avail all information that a shareholder may be interested in making a decision regarding a potential investment. Another goal for this Act was to enact laws to prevent any fraudulent activities or misinterpretation of information in the securities markets (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018).
This Act was the first federal legislation in regulating the securities markets in the United States. Before the enactment of this legislation, the securities markets were previously governed by the states independently through state laws. These laws were however not abolished but continued to operate under the 1933 Act (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018). Any company, which was interested in registering under the 1933 act, was required to develop a registration statement, which included all the financial information related to the company. The company was also supposed to ensure that information provided is accurate and complete. Any inaccurate information provided by a company would lead to legal action being taken on the company and its members (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018).
The Securities Exchange Act of 1934
The Securities Exchange Act of 1934 was enacted in 1934 by Franklin Roosevelt’s administration after the 1929 crash of the stock market, as they believed that this was caused by financial malpractices. This Act was established to regulate the transaction of securities and ensure continuing disclosure of financial information on the secondary market (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018). Corporations were required to publicize certain financial information, which included stock sales and stock distribution. This Act established the Securities and Exchange Commission, which was tasked with functions, which include ensuring continued financial transparency involving other markets under the securities markets (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018).
The Securities and Exchange Commission has also the responsibility of taking legal action on the misconduct of any professional involved in financial reporting who include advisors and brokers. The commission had also a duty to monitor financial statements of public companies after disclosing this information to the public (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018). This Act required that all companies listed on the stock exchanges to register and disclose any securities listed on the stock exchanges as well as any audit information. This is meant to ensure that there is fairness in the stock market and improve the confidence of investors (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018).
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
The United States Congress enacted the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which is also known as the Corporate Responsibility Act of 2002, in July 2002. This Act was aimed at protecting investors from false or inaccurate financial information, which may be given by companies (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018). This act enacted several reforms to improve the disclosure process of financial information by corporations, which would prevent fraudulent activities, which would mislead an investor. This Act was enacted following the fraudulent accounting activities in 2000, which led to public scandals in the United States, which negatively affected the confidence of investors in financial statements (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018).
The public scandals led to investors demanding a change in the regulatory standards. Some of the reforms enacted in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 included new protections to the investor against any accounting malpractice, punishment on accounting malpractices, and corporate responsibility (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018). This would ensure that all corporations were responsible in their accounting activities to increase openness and transparency between the corporations and the investors (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018). This Act mandated the senior management to certify information reported in the financial statements of corporations. Section 802 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 provides regulations on record keeping, which provide rules regarding the destruction of records, the retention period for keeping financial records, and certain records, which a company needs to keep (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018).
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB)
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is a non-profit organization created under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which is tasked with regulating the auditors of public companies. This Act requires that all auditors of public companies in the United States be subject to oversight to minimize any risk associated with the auditing process (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018). This is meant to protect the interests of investors and other individuals and organizations interested in investing in certain companies. This is achieved through the preparation of accurate and informative audit reports, which provide information to the investors to help them in making important investment decisions (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018).
This board also oversees the auditing of brokers and other dealers involved in the securities markets as a way of protecting the investor. The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is responsible for approving all rules and standards implemented by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018). This board ensures that auditors of public companies’ financial statements have followed the laid down rules and regulations, which is aimed to prevent any auditor malpractice (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018). This board also requires that all firms which have the responsibility of auditing public companies to register with the board. The board is also responsible for setting up standards to improve the reliability of audit information as well as implement consequences for any audit malpractices (U.S Securities and Exchange Commission, 2018).
Compare and Contrast the Regulations and Standards
The regulations and standards enacted by the different acts are all meant to support high quality accounting standards. All regulations and standards in the United States are meant to cover transactions and other processes in the securities markets (Johnson et al., 2014). These includes securities markets both at the federal as well as the state levels to ensure that there is fairness in the market as well as protect the investor from financial malpractices (Johnson et al., 2014). These laws are continuously amended based on the current trends to ensure that they are up to date. These regulations and standards are meant to ensure that companies will implement self-regulatory measures to prevent any malpractice, which could mislead the investors (Johnson et al., 2014).
The financial standards are meant to ensure compliance where a company may voluntarily conform to certain standards where else it is mandatory to adhere to enacted regulations (Johnson et al., 2014). With the enactment of these regulations and standards, the securities market will have transparency, which is important in creating a fair market. This is achieved by the requirements that all companies to disclose all financial information of securities, which are traded (Johnson et al., 2014). Transparency will lead to proper functioning of the securities markets and maintain integrity. In the implementation of financial standards, there may be no liability associated with the process, which is different for financial regulations where there are consequences associated with the breaking of stated laws (Johnson et al., 2014).
Most of the regulations are because of major events, which affected the securities markets. These include the 1929 crash in securities markers and the Enron scandal where else financial standards are measures implemented to attain a certain level of international standards to improve the effectiveness of the process (Johnson et al., 2014). Financial regulations are also meant to enable financial stability by protecting the stability of the financial system. Financial regulations require supervision from a third party where there are certain guidelines and requirements, which are aimed at attaining integrity in the securities markets (Johnson et al., 2014). This may be done either by the government or by a nongovernment organization. Financial standards are issued by the International Financial Reporting Standards to enable a common business process across different international regions (Johnson et al., 2014).
Discuss the Importance of the Current Regulations with a Focus on the PCAOB General Auditing Standards, Not the Audit Procedures or Reporting, As Applicable to GAAP reporting
Generally Accepted Accounting Principles are important to financial statements as they provide the rules and processes to be used by companies across different companies in order for the companies to have a standardized financial statement (Anandarajan & Kleinman, 2015). This is important in conducting comparisons between the financial statements of different companies. The current regulations in the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board general auditing standards are important in achieving the goals and objectives of the GAAP (Anandarajan & Kleinman, 2015). These regulations include compliance by all firms with the auditing and professional practice standards of the PCAOB, which is aimed at achieving the same goals as the GAAP.
The PCAOB standards are important in improving transparency and integrity in the securities market, which is an objective of the GAAP (Anandarajan & Kleinman, 2015). Auditing is an important process in the securities markets as this leads to transparency and reporting of accurate information, which is important for investors and other parties involved in the financial process (Anandarajan & Kleinman, 2015). This information is important in influencing an investor in making important investment decisions, which may include how to allocate and distribute their capital to different companies. Without regulations in this process, the securities markets would face challenges in their functioning (Anandarajan & Kleinman, 2015).
The main function of the PCOAB uses the same principles as the GAAP, which is to protect the interests of investors by the provision of accurate audit reports (Anandarajan & Kleinman, 2015). The PCOAB oversees the audit processes, which is conducted by independent auditors and brokers. The PCAOB General Auditing Standards prevent fraud by establishing standards, which relate to the securities markets (Anandarajan & Kleinman, 2015). These include ethics to be adopted by auditors and all those who are involved in the securities markets to ensure that audit reports are accurate and reliable. This will improve professionalism and accountability in the process to make the financial reporting process helpful to the investors (Anandarajan & Kleinman, 2015).
How the Regulation of the Accounting Industry Has Changed Since 1933 Using These Four Regulations/Standards as a Timeline
The accounting industry has changed drastically since 1933 after the enactment of the Securities Act of 1933. This was the first Act to be implemented by the federal government as blue sky laws under state governments were responsible for regulating the securities markets in state levels (Feinberg, 2013). This act was implemented after the crash of the stock market, which was attributed to the lack of adequate regulations on the securities markets. This Act was implemented to improve transparency in the publicizing of financial statements, which would provide accurate information to investors as they make important investment decisions (Feinberg, 2013). Due to the crash in the securities markets which was blamed on the provision of false information, this Act was also meant to prevent parties from engaging in fraudulent activities or giving false information to investors. This act continued to operate in collaboration with the blue sky laws under the state governments (Feinberg, 2013).
Under this Act, companies interested in participating in the securities markets were required to provide all their financial information to the public. Individuals and companies involved in fraudulent activities were now liable to face legal action (Jeffrey, 2018). In 1934, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 was enacted which now focused on the transaction process of securities after the Securities Act of 1933 covered issues affecting the registration and publicizing financial information (Jeffrey, 2018). This Act required companies to make their stock sales and distribution public. Under this ACT, the Securities and Exchange Commission was formed to govern the securities markets and ensure financial transparency (Jeffrey, 2018). Companies involved in fraudulent activities were also liable to face legal action. In 2002, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 was enacted which focused more on corporate responsibility of companies involved in the securities markets (Jeffrey, 2018).
This Act was aimed at protecting the investor from false information from companies, as this would negatively affect the investors in making investment decisions. Some of the reforms made included the improvement of the disclosure process of financial information (Feinberg, 2013). This Act was enacted after fraudulent events in 2000, which resulted in public scandals in the United States, which affected the trust of investors in public financial information. The investors demanded a change in the current regulations (Feinberg, 2013). In 2016, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which was formed under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, enacted the auditing standards (Jeffrey, 2018). These standards are aimed at regulating the auditors involved in the securities markets. These guidelines are meant to provide oversight to auditors, which are aimed at minimizing any risks, which the auditing process may pose to investors (Jeffrey, 2018).
Anandarajan, A., & Kleinman, G. (2015). International auditing standards in the United States: Comparing and understanding standards for ISA and PCAOB. New York: Business Expert Press.
Feinberg, J. (2013). Perpetuating American Greatness after the Fiscal Cliff: Jump Starting Gdp Growth, Tax Fairness, and Improved Government Regulation. Indiana: iUniverse Inc.
Jeffrey, C. (2018). Research on Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Accounting. Bingley Emerald Publishing Limited.
Johnson, C. L., Luby, M. J., Moldogaziev, T. T., & Edward Elgar Publishing. (2014). State and local financial instruments: Policy changes and management. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Pub. Ltd.
Mallor, J., Barnes, A., Langvardt, A., Prenkert, J., & McCrory, M. (2015). Business law: The ethical, global, and e-commerce environment (16th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
U.S Securities and Exchange Commission. (2018). The laws that govern the securities industry. Retrieved from https://www.sec.gov/answers/about-lawsshtml.html