For some of you, being subject to PCAOB inspection is easily the worst part of your miserable life. For others, simply registering with the PCAOB can lend the kind of automatic credibility shitty restaurants get by slapping a "People Love Us on Yelp" sticker in the window. Imagine boasting you are "PCAOB-registered" without never having to look a PCAOB inspector in the eye. Sounds like a pretty good deal, eh?
A top U.S. audit regulator is sounding the alarm over what she fears may be a false stamp of approval that some accounting firms are using as they market themselves to potential clients.
A growing number of accounting firms register with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the U.S. body that polices auditors, but are never actually inspected, PCAOB member Jeanette Franzel said in a recent interview.
Some of these firms tout their PCAOB registration on their websites to drum up business.
This raises concerns for investors, Franzel said, because registration with the board may give customers a false impression that every audit firm is subject to strict supervision.
It can cost as little as $500 for just about any firm to do this, depending on how many issuer clients the firm had the year previous (note "zero" is totally a number):
GC's all-time favorite AICPA Senior VP Susan Coffey had this to say: "The fact that a firm may be registered is meaningless."