Francine McKenna

Francine McKenna is an independent journalist who authors the newsletter, The Dig, covering accounting, audit and corporate governance issues at public and pre-IPO companies. She was previously the Transparency reporter at MarketWatch, a leading online financial news outlet published by Dow Jones & Co., where she covered financial regulation and legislation beginning in 2015. Her work has been featured frequently in The Wall Street Journal and Barron’s; her reporting and commentary have also been featured in the Financial Times, Accountancy Age, Accountancy Magazine, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business Chicago Booth Review magazine, and various other financial, media, and technology publications. She previously authored regular columns on corporate accounting issues for Forbes and on the intersection of financial services and professional services for American Banker. McKenna was a Journalist in Residence at the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business in 2017. McKenna is an adjunct professor in international business in the MBA program at American University’s Kogod School of Business. Her perspective as an financial journalist and commentator is informed by more than 25 years of experience in executive roles in professional services, financial services, and manufacturing firms. In 2006, McKenna created the blog re: The Auditors to explore in an independent, objective, and often critical way the role, responsibility, and regulation of the audit and accounting industry in the global capital markets, and in particular, the business of the Big Four audit firms. Prior to transitioning to journalism beginning in 2006, McKenna was a director in PwC’s internal audit and governance advisory services group, where she audited PwC’s post-Sarbanes-Oxley response to heightened compliance and regulatory scrutiny. Before that, she was regional vice president for the Midwest at Jefferson Wells (a subsidiary of Manpower); led the industrial, automotive, and transportation practice as BearingPoint’s (formerly KPMG Consulting) first female managing director in Latin America; and directed the Y2K project management office for JPMorgan Chase’s Latin America operations.

Elon Musk Wants to Get Paid. He Will Get His 2019 Bonus Thanks to an Accounting Magic

In March 2018, Tesla’s Board of Directors granted Musk a potential bonus of 20,264,042 stock option awards under a  plan that uses “adjusted EBITDA” as one...

How Regulators and PwC Fooled Reporters—Again

Is the PCAOB really investigating PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for its role in the Mattel auditing mess? I may be wrong, but I seriously doubt it....

Big Four Audit Firms Enjoy a “Too Few to Fail” Regulatory Hall Pass

The failure of Enron and subsequent demise of Arthur Andersen led to significant changes for public reporting and auditing but not much change in...

Will PwC Throw the Red Card on its Swiss Firm Over FIFA?

PwC took over as auditor of the corruption-plagued global football body last year, with the intention of  reforming it. So how is it that...

How the Global Audit Firms, Led by Deloitte, Are Using Their Lobbying Clout to Dilute Sarbanes-Oxley Reforms

A look at the Big Four’s congressional lobbying activity shows the auditors and their trade association taking advantage of the “Trump” window to roll...

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The United States: An Exceptional Case? A Webinar With Stephen Haber, Richard R. John, and Luigi Zingales

Many see the US as a land where free markets and antitrust enforcement have historically kept monopolies under control. But is that...

Bethany McLean’s Fourth of July Weekend Reading List: Jeff Bezos, Homeschooling, and How to Make Capitalism Work for All

Corruption, lobbying, corporate malfeasance, and frauds: a weekly unconventional selection of must-read articles by investigative journalist Bethany McLean. 

Lifting Lockdown Measures Won’t Bring Back Lost Jobs, New Study Suggests

A new paper examines data on local outbreaks in South Korea and finds that even in the absence of lockdowns, an increase...

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As the Covid-19 crisis evolves from a temporary shock into what seems like a long-term catastrophe, six finance scholars from Chicago Booth—Douglas...

A New Stigler Center Case Study Explores the Link Between Italy’s Morandi Bridge Disaster and Crony Capitalism

Two years ago, the Morandi bridge collapse claimed 43 lives. Based on financial statements, Italian government documents, and interviews with independent experts...

Few Bad Apples? New Study Finds That 40 Percent of Officers in a Large Police Force Are Discriminatory

A new paper seeks to examine whether police misbehavior is concentrated or diffuse by identifying whether highway patrol officers in Florida are...

Bethany McLean’s Weekend Reading List: Wirecard, Shale Oil, and the Fall of Chuck E. Cheese

Corruption, lobbying, corporate malfeasance, and frauds: a weekly unconventional selection of must-read articles by investigative journalist Bethany McLean.