Thoughts on PCAOB Oversight

by Hiller Hardie 1. February 2012 11:21

 

My recent blog discussed the trend of the last several years of declining revisions of financial statements due to accounting errors or manipulations. As a member of the Accounting profession, I follow the activities of the PCAOB with interest (and often skepticism). Of particular relevance is their current slate of projects including mandatory auditor rotation, expanded audit reports and expanded roles for auditors beyond the traditional financial statements. As I focus on this, in view of the aforementioned decline in restatements, I tend to believe that we are going too far.

 

However, the unfolding story of Olympus and the depth and duration of the fraud perpetrated by their management paints a different picture.  The announcement that the PCAOB’s recent inspections of Big 4 firms have revealed numerous flaws in their audits is also pertinent

 

I am often tempted to think that the PCAOB should eventually go in to “maintenance” mode. In other words, they should allow the system to run as designed. Their actions should commence when audit failures transpire. Changes and remedies they put in place should be based on the findings from the investigations of such failures. That may ultimately prove to be naïve but at any rate now is not the time.

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