PCAOB Issues Concept Release on Auditor's Reporting Model

Also Notice of Roundtable in the Third Quarter 2011

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board today issued a concept release to discuss alternatives for changing the auditor's reporting model. The Board also announced that it will convene a public roundtable to discuss the concept release in the third quarter of 2011.

"The concept release we issue today represents a significant step for investor protection in response to the financial crisis, and a first step toward a holistic consideration of reforms designed to foster the relevance, transparency and reliability of the audit process," said James R. Doty, PCAOB chairman.

The Board is seeking comment on alternatives and other matters presented in the concept release regarding possible enhancements in the auditor's reporting model. The auditor's report is the primary means by which the auditor communicates to investors and other financial statement users about information regarding the audit of the financial statements.

"The auditor is in a unique position to provide relevant and useful information, because of the auditor's extensive knowledge of the company and as an independent third-party,” said Martin F. Baumann, PCAOB Chief Auditor and Director of Professional Standards. "The concept release explores ways to expand the auditor's communication in the auditor's report about the audit and the company's financial statements."

The concept release presents several alternatives for changing the auditor's reporting model and is seeking specific comment on these or other alternatives that could provide investors with more transparency in the audit process and more insight into the company's financial statements or other information outside the financial statements. These alternatives include:

  • An auditor's discussion and analysis;
  • Required and expanded use of emphasis paragraphs;
  • Auditor assurance on other information outside the financial statements; and,
  • Clarification of language in the standard auditor's report.

The current release seeks public comment on alternatives for amendments to, or the development of new, auditing standards that would supersede the Board's current standards on the auditors' report. The Board also today released a fact sheet that provides a summary of the matters included in the concept release.

Earlier this year, PCAOB staff reached out to investors, auditors, preparers of financial statements, audit committee members, and other interested parties to seek their views on potential changes to the auditor's report. The staff reported its findings to the Board on March 22.

Comments on the concept release are due Sept. 30, 2011.

Additional details about the roundtable discussion on the auditor's reporting model concept release will be announced at a later date.