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. 

Enforcement Actions

The PCAOB uses its disciplinary authority to demonstrate that auditors who run afoul of their professional obligations will face real consequences. The Board also takes disciplinary action against auditors who threaten the PCAOB's regulatory processes, such as by failing to cooperate with a PCAOB inspection or investigation. The PCAOB may impose a range of sanctions on an auditor, including a censure, monetary penalties, revocation of a firm's registration, and a bar on an individual's association with registered accounting firms.

To review the PCAOB's settled disciplinary orders and public adjudicated disciplinary orders imposing sanctions, please click on the links below.

Settled Disciplinary  Orders

Adjudicated Final Board Actions Imposing Sanctions in Disciplinary Proceedings

PCAOB Orders in Settlements with Registered Firms or their Associated Persons Opinions, Orders, and Other Final PCAOB Action Imposing Sanctions in Contested Disciplinary Proceedings and SEC Actions on Review of those Sanctions

As required by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the PCAOB keeps its investigations and disciplinary proceedings confidential and nonpublic. In addition, if a respondent in a contested disciplinary proceeding petitions for SEC review of a Board-imposed sanction (or the SEC elects to review the sanction on its own), the Act provides that the sanction is stayed pending further action by the SEC. Normally, SEC review proceedings are public pursuant to Rule 301 of the SEC’s Rules of Practice.

However, the Act prohibits the PCAOB from publicly reporting the sanction unless and until the SEC lifts the stay. Accordingly, even after the PCAOB hearing officer issues an initial ruling that violations have occurred and imposes sanctions and the Board has acted on an appeal, if any, information about the matter remains unavailable to the public, at least until the case is appealed to the SEC, the SEC elects on its own to review the Board's final decision, or the opportunity for SEC review has passed.