The PCAOB has again proposed changes to the standard audit report in which the PCAOB proposes that the report disclose additional information, for example about communications to the audit committee and about judgment or estimate related issues. Here is the link to a discussion by PWC, CLICK HERE. Comments about the proposal are due by August 2016.
This is a modified version of a prior PCAOB proposal. I’m not particularly convinced that the proposal requires a detailed discussion by me at this time as, similar to legislation, the proposal will change over time and whether or not it will ever be enacted is uncertain. However, given that this is a second serious attempt to enact a change in the audit report for audits performed and that are subject to PCAOB oversight, I must believe that this attempt will have an increased chance of being enacted.
I continue to believe that the current audit report suffers from significant limitations that reduce or limit its usefulness and relevancy for investors. I question the number of audits that would be performed if not for the statutory requirement? And we are seeing other efforts to increase discussions and disclosures that are thought to be useful to investors, such as the activities of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board and other activities by the PCAOB.
In general, these activities also should benefit the external and internal audit professions as they will make their activities even more relevant, and also likely increase their workload.
One other thought: where are audit committees on this? I believe that in general they should support these efforts: on the one hand these activities might increase audit committee complexity and workload, but on the other hand, as the audit committee is significantly dependent on information that is provided by other people (because the audit committee is not involved in the day-to-day activities of the business, and its role is diligent and informed “oversight”), this information and these disclosures tend to provide the audit committee with additional information that might help in the audit committee member’s oversight effectiveness.
Best, Dave Tate, Esq. (San Francisco/California), and here is a link to my audit committee guide, CLICK HERE