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PCAOB Concludes Fourth International Auditor Regulatory Institute

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board yesterday concluded its fourth annual International Auditor Regulatory Institute. Seventy-five representatives of auditor oversight bodies and government agencies from 42 countries convened in Washington, D.C., to learn more about the PCAOB’s programs and exchange views on issues that have an impact upon the oversight of auditors.

"The PCAOB Institute has become an important component of the Board’s outreach to its counterparts in other countries and necessary to our work to protect investors in companies that have securities trading on U.S. markets, no matter where those companies are located," said PCAOB Acting Chairman Daniel L. Goelzer. "Although we have ongoing challenges to conducting inspections in other jurisdictions, this is an opportunity for audit regulators to share what we have learned and to listen to each other."

The Institute took place over two days, offering seminars on the structure of PCAOB auditor oversight programs, considerations relevant to international inspections, and current topics in enforcement and standard setting. The Institute also included a panel discussion with representatives of several of the PCAOB’s international counterparts, addressing a range of issues related to auditor oversight worldwide. This year's international panel included representatives from Canada, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom.

New this year was an interactive session on inspection case studies. PCAOB inspection leaders presented hypothetical inspection scenarios and discussed relevant considerations, inspection procedures and potential outcomes.

Also, Cynthia Cooper, well known leader of the team at WorldCom that uncovered audit fraud a decade ago, spoke about ethical leadership in the 21st century.

"Now in our fourth year, we are pleased to see both new and returning participants at the Institute, and to include more topics, such as the complex ethical questions posed by Cynthia Cooper, and the cultural and jurisdictional intricacies discussed by the panel of international regulators," said Rhonda Schnare, PCAOB Director of International Affairs.

As of November 2010, more than 900 audit firms from 85 jurisdictions outside the United States currently are registered with the PCAOB. Now in its eighth year of operation, the PCAOB established the Institute in 2007 to provide a forum for open discussion among regulators around the world about approaches to auditor oversight and improvements to audit quality.