U.S. watchdog levies $7.7 mln in fines against KPMG entities

A logo of KPMG is seen at its exhibition space, at the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France June 15, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

Dec 6 (Reuters) - A U.S. agency tasked with overseeing the audits of public companies on Tuesday said it imposed $7.7 million in fines and sanctioned three firms across KPMG's global network for violations of professional auditing standards, quality control standards and other rules.

KPMG Colombia, KPMG UK and KPMG India each agreed to pay the civil penalties to settle a swathe of violations from 2016-2021, from signing off on blank work papers to improper answer sharing on internal training tests, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) said in a statement.

The companies are all member firms of KPMG, known as one of the "Big Four" accounting firms, which also include Deloitte & Touche LLP, Ernst & Young LLP and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

Larry Bradley, global head of audit at KPMG, acknowledged the PCAOB's findings and said the firm "remains committed globally to the highest standards of quality and integrity."

The PCAOB also barred or suspended four KPMG auditors from participating in public company audits. The settled enforcement actions highlight the board's more aggressive policing of auditors under Democratic leadership.

"These actions should send the message to KPMG and all other registered firms that the PCAOB is committed to rooting out misconduct wherever it occurs and will employ all sanctions at its disposal to protect investors and improve audit quality," said Chair Erica Williams.

Reporting by Chris Prentice; editing by Jonathan Oatis, Aurora Ellis and Leslie Adler

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.