Deloitte vet named SEC chief accountant

James Schnurr replaces Paul Beswick as the head enforcer of US accounting and auditing rules.   

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recruited James Schnurr, a former senior partner in Deloitte's national accounting office, to lead its Office of the Chief Accountant. He replaces Paul Beswick, who joined the commission in 2007, and served as chief accountant since 2012.

Schnurr recently retired from Deloitte after a career with the auditing and accounting firm that spanned back to 1975. During his tenure he specialized in financial and SEC reporting for public companies, and also for a brief time worked on mergers and acquisition services, according to a SEC statement.

Schnurr is a familiar face in the accounting circles, having sat on various working and advisory groups of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

As chief accountant, he will be responsible for establishing and enforcing accounting and auditing policy as well as improving the professional performance of public company auditors. 

His arrival comes at a time when the SEC is also evaluating efforts to merge US accounting standards with International Financial Reporting Standards. That initiative began in early 2010, resulting in a final staff report published in 2012 which, to the chagrin of many, did not set the government one way or the other on the matter.