Information for Audit Committees

Audit committees play a vital role in the capital markets' investor protection framework through their oversight of the audit engagement and their company's financial reporting process.


“Investors have come to appreciate how important audit committees are in overseeing the audit."
James R. Doty, PCAOB Chairman

As part of its mission to protect the interests of investors and further the public interest in the preparation of informative, accurate, and independent audit reports, the PCAOB is committed to constructive engagement and information sharing with audit committees in areas of common interest, including auditor independence and audit quality.

AuditorSearch: Find Engagement Partners and Other Information

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Through AuditorSearch, audit committee members may find the names of the engagement partners and other accounting firms that participate in the audits of U.S. public companies.

Explore AuditorSearch

Adoption of a New Standard on the Auditor's Report

The PCAOB adopted a new auditing standardPDF to enhance the relevance and usefulness of the auditor's report by providing additional and important information to investors.

The new standard and related amendments require auditors to include in the auditor's report a discussion of the critical audit matters (CAMs) which are matters that have been communicated to the audit committee, are related to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements, and involved especially challenging, subjective, or complex auditor judgment. Read more information on the new standard.

Board Reports and Staff Briefs on PCAOB Inspections

PCAOB Publishes Staff Inspection Brief Previewing 2016 Inspection Findings (Nov. 2017) – This inspection brief is intended to provide insights into PCAOB inspections to investors, auditors, audit committees, and others. The brief highlights observations from 2016 inspections, including three recurring areas where audit deficiencies were most frequently identified: assessing and responding to risks of material misstatement, auditing internal control over financial reporting, and auditing accounting estimates, including fair value measurements.

Inspections stats

PCAOB Publishes Staff Inspection Brief Providing Information about 2017 Inspections of Auditors of Public Companies (Aug. 2017) – The brief is intended to help investors, auditors, and others understand the areas of significant audit risks targeted by PCAOB inspectors, and encourage auditors to work to improve audit quality.

PCAOB Issues Report Describing Inspection Observations Related to Audit Firms' Communications with Audit Committees (April 2016) – In this Board general report, inspection findings included that most firms inspected in 2014 had incorporated the requirements of the PCAOB auditing standard on Communications with Audit Committees

View more information about PCAOB inspections. 

Audit Quality Indicators Project

PCAOB Podcast on Audit Quality Indicators

Audit quality indicators are a potential portfolio of quantitative measures that may provide new insights into how high quality audits are achieved. Taken together with qualitative context, the indicators may inform discussions among those who are concerned with the financial reporting and auditing process, such as audit committees and audit firms. Enhanced discussions, in turn, may strengthen audit planning, execution, and communication.

Read more about the Audit Quality Indicators project.

Audit Committee Dialogue

The PCAOB published a digital outreach communication to audit committees called Audit Committee Dialogue. This Dialogue, issued in 2015, highlights insights from PCAOB inspections and discussed recurring areas of concern and emerging risks related to increases in mergers and acquisitions, falling oil prices, undistributed foreign earnings, and maintaining audit quality while growing other business. The Dialogue also offered potential questions for audit committee members to ask their auditors.

Recent Standard-Setting Projects

Proposal for Auditing Accounting Estimates, Including Fair Value Measurements

The proposal emphasizes that auditors need to apply professional skepticism and devote greater attention to potential management bias when auditing accounting estimates.

Proposal for an Auditor’s Use of the Work of Specialists

The amendments are intended to strengthen the requirements for evaluating the work of a specialist employed or engaged by the company and applying a risk-based approach to supervising and evaluating the work of a specialist employed or engaged by the auditor.

Proposal for the Lead Auditor's Supervision of Other Auditors

The proposal is intended to strengthen existing requirements and impose a more uniform approach to a lead auditor's supervision of other auditors.

See more current and recent standard-setting activities.