New PCAOB Members Stress Collaboration with Industry

By Stephen Barlas
January 1, 2019

The “new” Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) appeared to signal its friendlier approach to the accounting industry with publication in August 2018 of its draft five-year strategic plan. The PCAOB has an entirely new membership as of January 2018.


The board’s draft plan is something of a departure for the PCAOB in that the board is asking for opinions from affected sectors first before moving to a proposed plan, which will attempt to seed improvements in the quality of audit services performed for companies.


Most of the implementation language of the draft is very general. But the tone appears to be more collaborative than the board’s tone under past Chairman James Doty. William Duhnke, formerly a Republican staffer on the Senate Banking Committee, became chairman in January 2018 and was joined by four other new commissioners. In comments on the draft, the Financial Reporting Committee of IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants), wrote: “We believe that the Board tended to develop its thinking on issues internally and then asked for public reaction.


“This new approach of listen first and only then begin to develop a position appears to signal an important change in Board thinking that we hope will lead to a more collaborative and improved process.” The comments argued that the “old” board and staff showed “an overly cynical attitude toward the professionalism of auditors and preparers.”


Stephen Barlas has covered Washington, D.C., for trade and professional magazines since 1981 and since 1984 for Strategic Finance and its predecessor Management Accounting. You can reach him at sbarlas@verizon.net.
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