PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP's acquisition of consulting firm Booz& Co., completed this week, has U.S. regulators eyeing thepotential for conflicts of interest in the auditing industry —again.

The deal, one of the biggest by a major accounting firm inrecent years, has focused new light on an aggressive push by theindustry into more lucrative consulting work. The Securities andExchange Commission and the oversight board for auditors are takingnote, pledging to step up their scrutiny to prevent any impact onindependent audits.

“This is a problem that will not go away,” said James Doty,chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, whichwas set up in the wake of the Enron Corp. accounting fraud.

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