PCAOB seeks public comments on 5-year strategic plan

By Bryan Strickland

The PCAOB on Tuesday released a draft of its five-year strategic plan and opened a public comment period.

Built around the organizational priorities of investor protection, engagement, and adaptability, the strategic plan features four actionable goals that align with the PCAOB's stated mission of regulating public company auditors:

  • Modernize standards.
  • Enhance inspections.
  • Strengthen enforcement.
  • Improve organizational effectiveness.

The PCAOB Strategic Plan 2022–2026: Draft for Comment is open for comment until Sept. 15.

Each goal in the draft features a set of objectives:

Modernize standards. The PCAOB states that it wants to "adopt standards that meaningfully improve audit quality" while keeping an open dialogue with stakeholders and staying on top of technological advances.

Enhance inspections. The PCAOB states that it wants to improve the timeliness of audit inspections and increase transparency in reporting for the good of the audit profession. The goal also places more focus on firms' "remediation efforts."

Strengthen enforcement. The PCAOB states that it wants to "rigorously" enforce its standards while imposing "more significant penalties" that are more transparent in nature and include collaboration with other regulators in order to coordinate punitive actions.

Improve organizational effectiveness. The PCAOB states that it wants to "radically" improve its employee experience by improving internal processes, in addition to enhancing stakeholder engagement.

Comments may be emailed to comments@pcaobus.org or mailed to Office of the Secretary, PCAOB, 1666 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006-2803. Comments will be posted on the PCAOB website. Commenters are encouraged to provide their name and affiliation but aren't required to do so.

The Strategic Plan 2022–2026 is the first five-year plan released by the PCAOB in two years and the first opened for public comment since 2018.

Erica Y. Williams was sworn in as PCAOB chair in January after the SEC removed William Duhnke from the position in June 2021. Earlier this year, the PCAOB hired its first Investor Advocate and launched the Investor Advisory Group and the Standards and Emerging Issues Advisory Group.

"The people we serve are top of mind in everything we do at the PCAOB, and we look forward to hearing from the public as we move forward with our ambitious plan to protect investors," Williams said in a press release.

— To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Bryan Strickland at Bryan.Strickland@aicpa-cima.com.

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