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September 28, 2023

Save the Date: PCAOB April Public Meeting on the Auditor’s Reporting Model Proposal

The PCAOB is preparing for its April 2-3 public meeting this week, and while I really wanted an excuse to spend two days in Washington trolling the PCAOB IRL, I decided catching the webcast from the comfort of my Lovesac in my pajamas was a much better decision.

The panelists aren't much to write home about unless you count the one and only Sir David Tweedie who will be rocking out on Panel 2: International Perspectives on Improving the Auditor's Report.

"Protecting the interests of investors through an informative audit report is fundamental to the Board's mission," said Martin F. Baumann, PCAOB Chief Auditor. "We are fortunate to have assembled so many leading thinkers, representing a broad spectrum of views on auditor reporting, for this public meeting."

What else is going on? Let's check it out:

Panelists also will include representatives from the U.S. Treasury's Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession (ACAP) that recommended improvements to the auditor's report in its October 2008 reportPDF.

Further panels will discuss the proposed requirement for the communication of critical audit matters as determined by the auditor from both large and small company perspectives, the auditor's responsibilities for other information in the annual report, auditor tenure and other basic elements of the auditor's report, and considerations specific to investment companies and brokers and dealers.

The Board's August 2013 proposalPDF includes a new auditing standard that is intended to increase the informational value of the auditor's report to promote the usefulness and relevance of the audit and the related auditor's report.

The proposal also includes a second auditing standard to enhance the auditor's responsibilities for other information in an annual report that contains audited financial statements and the auditor's report.

Panelists will be invited to present their views on the matters raised in the proposal and the Board will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Jim Peterson over at Re:Balance has already presented his view on the matter, writing:

At the core of the PCAOB’s current audit report initiative is its proposal that auditors should discuss so-called “Critical Audit Matters.” The main effects of this marginal exercise – as abundantly spelled out in comment letters already in the PCAOB’s hands — would be disruption of the appropriate allocation of reporting and disclosure responsibility resting on public-company management teams and their boards and audit committees, the fostering of further boilerplate reporting language, and the propagation of hindsight second-guessing by regulators and litigants about whether a particular matter was indeed “critical.”  

Under all these conditions, those seeking to locate the expectations bar for the upcoming PCAOB meetings are best advised to approach it on hands and knees.

The meeting kicks off promptly at 9am the 2nd, if there's anything worth noting I will be sure to let you know. Or at least mock it on Twitter.

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