Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Student's Day with a SEC Accountant

By Trevor Lund

I had the opportunity to go to lunch and attend class with Jon Duresh, a senior employee in the office of the chief accountant at the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). My time with Jon was well spent as he told story after story regarding his time at the SEC and answering my many questions. Jon spoke a lot about the regulation and different decisions the SEC is making. He also spent a substantial amount of time speaking about the role the SEC plays with the other regulatory bodies in accounting.

Jon spoke about how to manage risk, which he stated was one of the main roles of an auditor but that also applies to just about any profession. The following are a few things that I took from his experiences.

1. Understand the business purpose of the transaction or event; you have to understand why the transaction is taking place. You cannot come to a conclusion until you understand why it is taking place.

2. Have objectivity in evaluating authoritative guidance; be able to understand the standards.

3. Consider broader application of GAAP.

4. Consider what investors and regulators think- you must consider what the regulator thought about when the regulation was written.

5. Has materiality been considered properly?

6. Are the disclosures completely transparent- you can blow it but enforcement will have a hard time if the disclosures are very written well and are very transparent.

A few more items he shared that I thought were important and would be beneficial for our students were: USU students can compete with students from around the country, we need to be aware of much more than what’s going on in accounting and we need to be aware of what’s going on in the news.

Trevor Lund

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