The leading accounting firms that conduct audits on the financial statements of publicly traded companies suffer from a significant and growing number of deficiencies, according to a new report by an industry oversight organization.

In its annual review of eight firms registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), the board found that 15% of audits conducted in 2010 lacked adequate evidence to support their ultimate conclusion. Of those cases, 85% of the audits also failed to produce sufficient evidence to verify the financial statement purported by the company under review.

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