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PCAOB Makes Plans to Update Several Older Standards

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Sep 19, 2022

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The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is finally moving toward updating some older auditing standards, a number of which have remained in place since the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in 2002, Accounting Today reported.

The board released a draft five-year strategic plan on Aug. 16, which listed four goals: modernizing standards, enhancing inspections, strengthening enforcement and improving organizational effectiveness.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler has specfically urged the PCAOB board members to act faster in updating its auditing standards.

"When it comes to modernizing our standards, earlier this year, the board announced one of the most ambitious standard-setting agendas in the PCAOB's history," said PCAOB chair Erica Williams said during a meeting last month announcing the strategic plan. "Now, halfway through the first year of this new board, we are already working to update more than 25 standards within eight standard-setting projects."

According to Accounting Today,  the PCAOB"s confirmation auditing standard, AS 2310, is one that is seriously in need of updating, as a result of many the technology changes over the years. 

Accounting Today quoted Adam Hallemeyer, a partner and deputy chief auditor at RSM US in San Diego, who said, "When those standards were released on the confirmation front, the primary confirmations were being facilitated through the mail.It's a very different environment today. The PCAOB is looking at the business environment, the adoption and expansion of technology and how it's used in an audit, looking for opportunities to enhance these standards, revise them, update them to keep pace with how the the audit is being conducted in the current environment."

The publication noted that auditing software has evolved significantly, and more firms are using technology to speed and refine the audit process, including data analytics, artificial intelligence and robotic process automation.

Hallemeyer also mentioned that AS 2415, Consideration of an Entity's Ability to Continue as a Going Concern, was a standard that probably needs updating. "I think going concern is likely on the list because it is one of those interim standards that the PCAOB inherited from the AICPA,"  he said. "I just think this is something that is obviously of importance to investors. It's an important indicator that when relevant and necessary, it does end up in the auditor's report. This is another area where the PCAOB's initial goal was to embrace the interim standards that were in place when the PCAOB was created, but then follow suit with their own."

Yet another standard that might need updating is Noncompliance with Laws and Regulations (NOCLAR). "That probably falls into a similar category as the going concern standard," said Hallemeyer. "It's one that was adopted through the interim standards, and the PCAOB has a goal and a mission of going through and revising those standards that they've adopted from the standards in place when the PCAOB was created."

The PCAOB is also conducting a research project on data and technology, which will likely deal with auditing digital assets such as cryptocurrency. 

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