Netflix’s filing at the SEC says that it “dismissed” KPMG — the accountant for the last 10 years — and hired Ernst & Young on Wednesday. “We thank (KPMG) for their many years of service,” spokesman Steve Swasey says. While he wouldn’t go into specifics about the reasons for the change, he says the company had a competitive review of candidates and “this is just a natural evolution of the business.” Is it as simple as that? Perhaps. But I doubt it. The choice of an accountant is a serious matter at most companies — and Netflix’s accounting practices have come under fire on Wall Street. The Netflix filing notes that KPMG’s reports for 2011 and 2010 “did not contain an adverse opinion or a disclaimer of opinion.” It adds that “there were no ‘disagreements'” and “no ‘reportable events'” as defined by the securities laws. Netflix asked KPMG to furnish a letter saying that it agrees with the company’s characterization of the events. Netflix also says that it didn’t consult with Ernst & Young from the beginning of 2010 to now about “the type of audit opinion that might be rendered on the Company’s financial statements.” KPMG’s letter in Netflix’s annual report, filed in February, didn’t hint that anything is amiss. It said that the figures for the years covered “present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Netflix” adding that they were “in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles.” It also said that Netflix “maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting” based on industry standards.
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