Coronavirus Outbreak

U.S. Audit Board Pauses Inspections Amid Pandemic

March 23, 2020, 10:46 PM

The U.S. audit regulator offered firms the opportunity to pause their routine inspections for 45 days due to the ongoing new coronavirus outbreak.

Firms that want the inspection delay should request relief from their Public Company Accounting Oversight Board contact, the board said Monday.

“This opportunity for a pause will give audit firms the time, resources, and flexibility to work through significant matters with their issuer and broker-dealer clients,” the board said in a statement.

  • Inspections are expected to resume May 11.
  • Some firms may still be required to provide documents related to some engagements to the board for review.
  • Protecting the health and safety of board staff, who have been required to work remotely since March 19, and maintaining audit quality drove the decision to offer the relief to audit firms, the board said.
  • Inspections serve as the backbone of the board’s work to promote auditor quality and protect investors. The PCAOB conducts annual inspections of the largest U.S. audit firms and reviews smaller firms and international auditors every three years. The regulatory reviews typically include a sample of the firm’s most complex engagements.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda Iacone in Washington at aiacone@bloombergtax.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeff Harrington at jharrington@bloombergtax.com; Yuri Nagano at ynagano@bloombergtax.com

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