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Columbia Law School




A fundamental issue has been raised recently in connection with the status of "independent accountants." The issue involves a new breed of a few very large accounting firms. These firms are engaged in global commerce and finance, and cater to an important segment of multinational corporations.

These mammoth accounting firms raise a familiar question in a new context. On the one hand, the size and diversity of the firms meet the needs of large multinational clients and offer efficiency benefits. On the other hand, these benefits expose the firms to increased possible conflicts of interest and endanger the firms' gatekeeping functions as auditors. Therefore, the applicability of the independence rules to, and the strategic structure of, these firms require rethinking and an adjustment.

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