Thursday, April 17, 2003

Business digest



From wire reports

Accountants lose input at oversight board

WASHINGTON - The new U.S. accounting oversight board voted to write its own audit standards and end more than a half century of the accounting industry's power to set those rules, while leaving the old system in place for now.

The board's action Wednesday is a defeat for the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, which had lobbied to keep its control over auditing standards after losing its ability to act as the industry's self-regulatory body. In the wake of accounting scandals at Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc., Congress created the oversight board to police auditors and restore investor confidence in securities markets.

Acting board Chairman Charles Niemeier said the board plans to review current audit standards and then work with an advisory committee on drafting new ethical and professional standards, which should be ready "by early fall." He said the accounting industry will be limited to one-third of the representatives on the advisory committee, which may number from 15 to 30 people.

Ford plan is to cut design time, costs

NEW YORK - Ford Motor Co. aims to reduce by 25 percent the time needed to design and produce new vehicles, as the world's second-largest automaker tries to reinvent its core business.

By sharing designs and technology among similar models, Ford also expects to cut development costs by 10 percent and double the number of vehicles it can create and deliver, Nick Scheele, Ford president and chief operating officer, said Wednesday at the New York International Auto Show.



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