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The PCAOB Hates Meetings As Much As We Do

Going Concern staff has historically not been fond of meetings. Caleb hated them. Adrienne doesn’t like them because that means she has to wake up before noon. And I don’t particularly care for meetings either. They’re usually a waste of my time.

According to our friend Francine McKenna at MarketWatch, the PCAOB seems to be in complete agreement with us:

The PCAOB board is staying out of the public eye in 2019, in violation of bylaws established by the law that created the PCAOB, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The law requires the PCAOB to hold at least one public meeting of its governing board each calendar quarter. However, the PCAOB board has held no public meetings of its governing board since December 20, 2018.

When asked to comment about the lack of public meetings of late, a PCAOB spokesperson could’ve just come out and admitted that the board hates meetings but instead told Francine that the board expects to hold “two open meetings in the coming months to address our 2020 budget and a proposed concept release related to our quality control standards.”

The article also notes that the PCAOB’s Investor Advisory Group and its Standing Advisory Group haven’t met once this year.

For the most part, the PCAOB has been eerily quiet since William Duhnke was sworn in as chairman on Jan. 2, 2018. Definitely not like the days of Doty, when we were poking fun at the PCAOB on a regular basis. But not so much lately. And as Francine asserts in her article, the PCAOB/KPMG scandal really screwed things up over there:

Twenty days [after he was sworn in] Duhnke was forced to issue a press release that promised a review of all of the PCAOB’s policies and processes after the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice filed charges against five former executives of accounting firm KPMG LLP and one former PCAOB professional for the alleged theft of its confidential audit firm inspection information.

The SEC had announced in December 2017 that it would appoint a full slate of five new PCAOB board members, Duhnke plus four more, to replace all incumbents. It was the first time in the PCAOB’s 15-year history that the entire board was replaced all at once and, although KPMG had announced the terminations of its executives just eight months earlier, no one attributed the PCAOB shake-up to the shocking announcement.

Has that review of the PCAOB’s policies and processes that Duhnke promised been completed yet? Who knows! Is there still a William Duhnke who works at the PCAOB? I don’t know, you tell me. Has he been seen in public since he spoke at the Wall Street Journal’s CFO Network Annual Meeting in June? Or is he spending his days hiding out in a bathroom stall, collecting that $673,000-a-year salary, trying not to be seen so he doesn’t have to attend meetings?

It’s kinda funny though that the PCAOB bashes accounting firms all the time for breaking rules (Marcum was the latest victim) while it’s doing some rule-breaking of its own.

But you know what? Rules are meant to be broken. And if the PCAOB wants to break SOX bylaws by never holding another public meeting ever again, we stand behind them 100%. Because meetings suck.