In Light of COVID-19, PCAOB Provides Audit Firms with Opportunity for Relief from Inspections

Washington, Mar. 23, 2020

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is providing the following update on our inspections activities in light of the evolving COVID-19 crisis.

The COVID-19 crisis presents a unique set of challenges for investors, issuers, broker-dealers, auditors, and regulators. In determining how best to shape our inspections program during this time of economic uncertainty and dislocation, we are guided by two core considerations: (1) the health and safety of our employees and those with whom we interact; and (2) our statutory mission to promote audit quality, including by conducting our inspections program.

In balancing these considerations, we have made the decision to provide PCAOB-registered audit firms an up to 45-day relief period from inspections, with the exception of providing us access to audit documentation for certain engagements. Audit firms that wish to avail themselves of the 45-day relief period in full or in part should reach out to their designated inspections point of contact. We expect to fully resume inspections beginning May 11, 2020.

This opportunity for a pause will give audit firms the time, resources, and flexibility to work through significant matters with their issuer and broker-dealer clients. At the same time, our inspections staff can continue their important work by reviewing documentation for certain engagements remotely and preparing for inspections.

We remain steadfast in our commitment to protect investors and the public interest by promoting informative, accurate, and independent audit reports. Audit firms' adherence to our standards takes on added importance as investors depend now, more than ever, on the integrity of financial statements.

We will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation and reassess our policies as appropriate. If you have questions, comments, or concerns to share with us, please visit the Contact Us page on our website to find the relevant PCAOB contact information.