The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that Chief Accountant James Schnurr intends to retire from the agency. Mr. Schnurr began his tenure as the SEC’s chief accountant in October 2014.
During his tenure, Mr. Schnurr was committed to establishing and enforcing accounting and auditing policy as well as to improving the professional performance of public company auditors. Under his leadership, the Office of the Chief Accountant has worked to enhance the transparency and relevancy of financial reporting and has worked to ensure that financial statements are credible and presented fairly.
Among other accomplishments, Mr. Schnurr:
- Facilitated the development of the concept release on Audit Committee Disclosures, which can be used to evaluate whether investors have the information they need to make informed decisions
- Conducted oversight of Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) and was actively involved in the timely identification and monitoring of implementation issues related to the new revenue recognition standard developed jointly by FASB and the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)
- Worked with the Public Company Accounting Board (PCAOB), and representatives of the preparer and audit profession in addressing concerns on the interpretation and application of the requirements related to the guide to internal control over financial reporting (ICFR)
- Led a review and outreach on alternatives for the use of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) by domestic issuers and a path forward for continued collaboration on convergence
- Provided expert assistance to the Division of Enforcement on financial reporting cases, including against BDO LLP and Grant Thornton LLP
- Worked with the Division of Corporation Finance to develop guidance related to non-GAAP disclosures
“Jim’s extensive accounting and auditing expertise has been invaluable to the Commission,” said SEC Chair Mary Jo White. “Jim has been a strong leader--encouraging improvement in audit quality and working to facilitate other important goals, including consistent implementation and application of new accounting standards. I am deeply grateful to Jim for his service as the agency’s Chief Accountant. We all wish him the very best as he focuses full-time on his rehabilitation.”
“It has been a true honor to have served as the Chief Accountant and to have the opportunity to work with the talented and dedicated professionals at the SEC,” said Mr. Schnurr. “In particular, I want to thank Chair White for her leadership on important financial reporting issues.”
In April 2016, Mr. Schnurr was in a serious bicycle accident and is continuing his rehabilitation from his injuries. Before joining the SEC staff, Mr. Schnurr had retired from Deloitte LLP, where he was vice chairman and senior professional practice director and specialized in financial and SEC reporting for public companies. He began his career at Deloitte in 1975 and became a partner in 1985. He was a senior partner for mergers and acquisition services from 1994 to 2002 and a deputy managing partner of the firm’s professional practice from 2002 to 2009 where he was responsible for quality control and risk management of the firm’s audit and advisory services.
Mr. Schnurr received his undergraduate degree from the College of the Holy Cross and his MBA from Rutgers University.