OCA is a stand-alone office within the Commission, and the Chief Accountant reports directly to the Chairman. The Chief Accountant serves as the principal advisor to the Chairman, the Commission and the Commission staff on financial reporting, disclosure and auditing matters. OCA staff work closely with domestic and international private-sector accounting and auditing standards-setting bodies, consult with registrants, auditors, and other Commission staff regarding the application of accounting standards and financial disclosure requirements, and assist in addressing problems that may warrant enforcement actions.
Office of the Chief Accountant has a different role than does the separate Office of Chief Accountant within the Division of Corporation Finance (DCF-OCA) or the separate Chief Accountant’s Office within the Division of Investment Management (IM-CAO). Although OCA, DCF-OCA and IM-CAO often work closely together on registrant issues, they are separate offices with different missions.
The Division of Corporation Finance (DCF) oversees corporate disclosure compliance with the securities laws and SEC Regulations, while the Division of Investment Management (IM) oversees mutual fund disclosure compliance with the Investment Company Act of 1940 and SEC Regulations. In part DCF and IM do this by reviewing some (but not all) documents that registrants are required to file with the Commission. The Chief Accountants of DCF and IM advise their Division Directors on financial reporting matters including those involving compliance with generally accepted accounting principles and the proper content of financial statements and related disclosures. DCF-OCA also supports the Assistant Director offices by acting as a technical resource for the Assistant Director office accountants. Similarly, IM-CAO supports the IM disclosure review groups by acting as a technical resource for IM accountants.
The Division of Enforcement also has a separate Office of Chief Accountant. Accordingly, companies should consider which Chief Accountant's office they wish to correspond with prior to initiating contact. Generally, questions concerning the application of generally accepted accounting principles should be sent to OCA, while questions concerning the age, form, and content of financial statements required to be included in a filing or other requirements of SEC regulations should be addressed to DCF-OCA or IM-CAO, as appropriate.