The PCAOB has authority to investigate and discipline registered public accounting firms and persons associated with those firms for noncompliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the rules of the PCAOB and the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other laws, rules, and professional standards governing the audits of public companies, brokers, and dealers. When violations are found, the PCAOB can impose appropriate sanctions. As required by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Board’s investigations are confidential and nonpublic. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act also requires that disciplinary proceedings are confidential and nonpublic, unless and until there is a final decision imposing sanctions.
The PCAOB conducts investigations of registered public accounting firms and their associated persons. Board rules require registered public accounting firms and their partners, staff, and contractors to cooperate with Board investigations, which includes producing documents and providing testimony and information.
When investigations lead to alleged violations, the PCAOB will provide registered public accounting firms and persons associated with those firms an opportunity for a hearing and, in appropriate cases, impose sanctions designed to deter possible recurrence and enhance the quality and reliability of future audits.
Sanctions imposed by the PCAOB may include suspension or revocation of a firm's registration, suspension or bar of an individual from associating with a registered public accounting firm, and civil money penalties. The Board may also require improvements in a firm’s quality control, training, independent monitoring of the audit work of a firm or individual, or other remedial measures.