Four news sources are reporting that Charles Niemeier is being considered for Chief Accountant of the Securities and Exchange Commission. This is outstanding good news!
First, what is being reported:
- Bloomberg News: SEC May Pick Audit Board’s Niemeier for Accounting, by Jesse Westbrook and Ian Katz
- CPA.BLOG: Niemeier: Next SEC Chief Accountant? by Cara Patterson
- WebCPA: IASB Chair Meets with New SEC Chair, by WebCPA staff
- SmartBrief: “Mark-to-market” advocate considered for SEC chief accountant post
I am surprised, however, that CFO Magazine doesn’t have it. In my opinion, CFO has the best reporting on current events in accounting (Accountancy Age has the best reporting in Europe). Tim Reason (CFO editorial director) is first rate. He has impeccable journalist credentials. If he’s not reporting it yet, then it isn’t definite yet. Also to weigh in is Floyd Norris, the most highly respected journalist from the New York Times.
The Chief Accountant of the SEC has a tremendous influence on accounting policy in the U.S. In essence, the Chief Accountant is responsible for the strategic directions of all matters related to accounting and auditing. In essence, he is the First Accountant of the United States. He is at the center of the accounting universe. Specifically, the Chief Accountant is responsible for:
- Oversight of the FASB as it develops and maintains U.S. GAAP.
- Oversight of the PCAOB is it regulates auditors and develops and maintains audit/auditor standards.
- Coordinating U.S. relations and communications with international organizations that have an impact on accounting standards and practices.
Charley Niemeier was my choice for SEC chair. President Obama gave it to Mary Schapiro, instead. This may work out to everyone’s advantage. A Schapiro/Niemeier team is, in my opinion, very strong. Mary Schapiro has acquitted herself very well in her public appearances immediately before and after her confirmation. Her trying to invigorate the SEC with new blood is playing well in the press.
Niemeier’s appointment seems to be Mary Schapiro’s way of making a statement about (1) integrity, and (2) IFRS. During her confirmation hearing testimony, she testified that she was not sold that IFRS is the way to go. She followed this up with some written comments that were more negative towards IFRS. Niemeier is on record as a strong critic of IFRS, at least so far as currently constituted.
If Charley Niemeier is appointed as Chief Accountant of the SEC, then it is a master stroke by Mary Schapiro. There is no better person to head up accounting policy at this (or any) time. Niemeier is that good! Charley Niemeier will excel as Chief Accountant because he has such a great mind, the best mind in the government field of accounting regulation. He has a grasp of the big picture, an absolute necessity for Chief Accountant.
I will sleep much better tonight after hearing of this possibility. If he actually receives the appointment, I will sleep much better for the next few years.
I believe this is Charley Niemeier’s best career move to create a lasting legacy in the regulatory field. It is no secret that he has had numerous opportunities floated his way as he winds down his final days on the PCAOB. I need to go over the SEC chair history again, but I don’t think that an accountant has ever been appointed chair of the SEC.
Mary Schapiro, I beg of you. Please name Charles Niemeier as the Chief Accountant of the SEC.
Over and out – – David Albrecht