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In this Issue : February 2020

This month's cover story focuses on the speech given by PCAOB chairman William D. Duhnke at Baruch College's Annual Audit Conference. Recently reconstituted with an entirely new board under Duhnke's leadership, the PCAOB is in the midst of taking a fresh look at its own organization and strategic direction. The input from stakeholders was that the board was ripe for transformational change. Duhnke described the PCAOB's new strategic goals as becoming more innovative in its oversight, engaging more directly with stakeholders, streamlining its operations, and cultivating a higher-performing workforce. Auditors, preparers, and users—all of which have had their criticisms of the PCAOB and its processes in the past—will no doubt be following changes at the board closely as it seeks continuous improvement in the quality of its operations and auditor oversight.

As we commemorate our 90th year of publication, we feature thought pieces on the state of the auditing profession. Lynn Turner brings his decades of experience as an auditor and regulator to bear on audit quality and whether to reform the profession and its oversight. Some of his suggestions would completely transform the auditor-client relationship. In another piece, Dana Hermanson, Heather Hermanson, and Susan Hermanson ask where public company auditing is headed. In the face of slower growth and tougher working conditions, they believe steps can be taken now to improve audit firm culture and deploy new technologies that will ensure a brighter future for auditors and the profession.

Also appearing this month is the first in a regular series, “From the Archives,” in which the editors will look at how topics of current interest have been covered in decades past. We hope readers will enjoy such historical diversions—and that they shed some light on the intractable issues that still bedevil the profession.

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