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...

Latest news

Creation over Time in Copyright and Patent

On May 18, the United States Supreme Court decided two intellectual property cases with two seemingly different results. A closer look, however, reveals a complimentary concern with the monopolistic power of first movers and how the legal system should enable innovation from second movers over time, writes Randy Picker.

ESG Standards’ Good, Bad and Ugly

The Stigler Center for the Study of the Economy and the State hosted a virtual event discussing the standards, metrics and disclosures of investments focused on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals. The following is a transcript of the event.


Lee Hepner and William J. McGee respond to Clifford Winston’s ProMarket piece asserting that further deregulation of the airline industry would resolve problems in the industry. Instead, the authors claim a return to regulation would produce better results for travelers.

A World With Far Fewer Mergers

Brooke Fox and Walter Frick analyze research and ideas presented at the Stigler Center Antitrust and Competition Conference that question the value of mergers.

The Banking Risks of Central Bank Digital Currencies

The implementation of central bank digital currencies as the primary medium of exchange would exacerbate the flaws of our current fiat system which encourage banks to overextend credit and create liabilities that they cannot redeem. This will worsen the already recurring cycles of financial crises, writes Vibhu Vikramaditya.

The Whig History of the Merger Guidelines

A pervasive "Whig" view of United States antitrust history among scholars and practitioners celebrates the Merger Guidelines' implementation of increasingly sophisticated economic methods since their...

Algorithmic Collusion in the Housing Market

While the development of artificial intelligence has led to efficient business strategies, such as dynamic pricing, this new technology is vulnerable to collusion and consumer harm when companies share the same software through a central platform. Gabriele Bortolotti highlights the importance of antitrust enforcement in this domain for the second article in our series, using as a case study the RealPage class action lawsuit in the Seattle housing market.