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Integrated Disclosure System
for Small Business Issuers

Regulation S-B





Item 304 -- Changes In and Disagreements With Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure


    1. If, during the small business issuer's two most recent fiscal years or any later interim period, the principal independent accountant or a significant subsidiary's independent accountant on whom the principal accountant expressed reliance in its report, resigned (or declined to stand for re-election) or was dismissed, then the small business issuer shall state:

      1. Whether the former accountant resigned, declined to stand for re-election or was dismissed and the date;

      2. Whether the principal accountant's report on the financial statements for either of the past two years contained an adverse opinion or disclaimer of opinion, or was modified as to uncertainty, audit scope, or accounting principles, and also describe the nature of each such adverse opinion, disclaimer of opinion or modification;

      3. Whether the decision to change accountants was recommended or approved by the board of directors or an audit or similar committee of the board of directors; and

        1. Whether there were any disagreements with the former accountant, whether or not resolved, on any matter of accounting principles or practices, financial statement disclosure, or auditing scope or procedure, which, if not resolved to the former accountant's satisfaction, would have caused it to make reference to the subject matter of the disagreement(s) in connection with its report; or

        2. The following information only if applicable. Indicate whether the former accountant advised the small business issuer that:

          1. internal controls necessary to develop reliable financial statements did not exist; or

          2. information has come to the attention of the former accountant which made the accountant unwilling to rely on management's representations, or unwilling to be associated with the financial statements prepared by management; or

          3. the scope of the audit should be expanded significantly, or information has come to the accountant's attention that the accountant has concluded will, or if further investigated might, materially impact the fairness or reliability of a previously issued audit report or the underlying financial statements, or the financial statements issued or to be issued covering the fiscal period(s) subsequent to the date of the most recent audited financial statements (including information that might preclude the issuance of an unqualified audit report) , and the issue was not resolved to the accountant's satisfaction prior to its resignation or dismissal; and


        3. The subject matter of each such disagreement or event identified in response to paragraph (a)(1)(iv) of this Item;

        4. Whether any committee of the board of directors, or the board of directors, discussed the subject matter of the disagreement with the former accountant; and

        5. Whether the small business issuer has authorized the former accountant to respond fully to the inquiries of the successor accountant concerning the subject matter of each of such disagreements or events and, if not, describe the nature of and reason for any limitation.


    2. If during the period specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this Item, a new accountant has been engaged as either the principal accountant to audit the issuer's financial statements or as the auditor of a significant subsidiary and on whom the principal accountant is expected to express reliance in its report, identify the new accountant and the engagement date. Additionally, if the issuer (or someone on its behalf) consulted the new accountant regarding:

      1. The application of accounting principles to a specific completed or contemplated transaction, or the type of audit opinion that might be rendered on the small business issuer's financial statements and either written or oral advice was provided that was an important factor considered by the small business issuer in reaching a decision as to the accounting, auditing or financial reporting issue; or

      2. Any matter that was the subject of a disagreement or event identified in response to paragraph (a)(1)(iv) of this Item, then the small business issuer shall:

        1. Identify the issues that were the subjects of those consultations;

        2. Briefly describe the views of the new accountant given to the small business issuer and, if written views were received by the small business issuer, file them as an exhibit to the report or registration statement;

        3. State whether the former accountant was consulted by the small business issuer regarding any such issues, and if so, describe the former accountant's views; and

        4. Request the new accountant to review the disclosure required by this Item be fore it is filed with the Commission and provide the new accountant the opportunity to furnish the small business issuer with a letter addressed to the Commission containing any new information, clarification of the small business issuer's expression of its views, or the respects in which it does not agree with the statements made in response to this Item. Any such letter shall be filed as an exhibit to the report or registration statement containing the disclosure required by this Item.


    3. The small business issuer shall provide the former accountant with a copy of the disclosures it is making in response to this Item no later than the day that the disclosures are filed with the Commission. The small business issuer shall request the former accountant to furnish a letter addressed to the Commission stating whether it agrees with the statements made by the issuer and, if not, stating the respects in which it does not agree. The small business issuer shall file the letter as an exhibit to the report or registration statement containing this disclosure. If the letter is unavailable at the time of filing, the small business issuer shall request the former accountant to provide the letter so that it can be filed with the Commission within ten business days after the filing of the report or registration statement. Notwithstanding the ten business day period, the letter shall be filed within two business days of receipt. The former accountant may provide an interim letter highlighting specific areas of concern and indicating that a more detailed letter will be forthcoming within the ten business day period noted above. The interim letter, if any, shall be filed with the report or registration statement or by amendment within two business days of receipt.


  1. If the conditions in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(3) of this Item exist, the small business issuer shall describe the nature of the disagreement or event and the effect on the financial statements if the method had been followed which the former accountants apparently would have concluded was required (unless that method ceases to be generally accepted because of authoritative standards or interpretations issued after the disagreement or event):

    1. In connection with a change in accountants subject to paragraph (a) of this Item, there was any disagreement or event as described in paragraph (a)(1)(iv) of this Item;

    2. During the fiscal year in which the change in accountants took place or during the later fiscal year, there have been any transactions or events similar to those involved in such disagreement or event; and

    3. Such transactions or events were material and were accounted for or disclosed in a manner different from that which the former accountants apparently would have concluded was required.


    Instructions to Item 304:

    1. The disclosure called for by paragraph (a) of this Item need not be provided if it has been previously reported as that term is defined in Rule 12b-2 under the Exchange Act; the disclosure called for by paragraph (a) of this Item must be provided, however, notwithstanding prior disclosure, if required pursuant to Item 9 of Schedule 14A. The disclosure called for by paragraph (b) of this Item must be furnished, where required, notwithstanding any prior disclosure about accountant changes or disagreements.

    2. When disclosure is required by paragraph (a) of this Item in an annual report to security holders pursuant to Rule 14a-3 or Rule 14c-3 under the Exchange Act, or in a proxy or information statement filed pursuant to the requirements of Schedule 14A or 14C in lieu of a letter pursuant to paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(D) or (a)(3) of this Item, before filing such materials with or furnishing such materials to the Commission, the small business issuer shall furnish the disclosure required by paragraph (a) of this Item to each accountant who was engaged during the period set forth in paragraph (a) of this Item. If any such accountant believes that the statements made in response to paragraph (a) of this Item are incorrect or incomplete, it may present its views in a brief statement, ordinarily expected not to exceed 200 words, to be included in the annual report or proxy or information statement. This statement shall be submitted to the small business issuer within ten business days of the date the accountant receives the small business issuer's disclosure. Further, unless the written views of the newly engaged accountant required to be filed as an exhibit by paragraph (a)(2)(ii)(D) of this Item have been previously filed with the Commission, the small business issuer shall file a Form 8-K along with the annual report or proxy or information statement for the purpose of filing the written views as exhibits.

    3. The information required by this Item need not be provided for a company being acquired by the small business issuer if such acquired has not been subject to the filing requirements of either section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Exchange Act, or, because of section 12(i) of the Exchange Act, has not furnished an annual report to security holders pursuant to Rule 14a-3 or Rule 14c-3 for its latest fiscal year.

    4. In determining whether any disagreement or reportable event has occurred, an oral communication from the engagement partner or another person responsible for rendering the accounting firm's opinion (or their designee) will generally suffice as the accountant advising the small business issuer of a reportable event or as a statement of a disagreement at the "decision-making level" within the accounting firm and require disclosure under this Item.




Regulatory History


57 FR 36454, Aug. 13, 1992

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