PCAOB Sanctions Six Audit Firms for Violating PCAOB Rules and Standards Related to Audit Committee Communications
As part of a continuing sweep, the PCAOB imposes censures, $255,000 in total fines, and remedial undertakings
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) today announced settled disciplinary orders sanctioning six audit firms for violating PCAOB rules and standards related to communications with audit committees. The firms were sanctioned as part of a sweep, which enables the PCAOB to collect information on potential violations from a number of firms at the same time.
The six orders announced today result from the same PCAOB sweep that led to previous sanctions on five other firms in July 2023. Starting in 2022, the PCAOB expanded its use of sweeps as part of its strategic goal of strengthening enforcement.
“The PCAOB is seeing too many instances where auditors fail to comply with rules and standards in communicating with audit committees,” said PCAOB Chair Erica Y. Williams. “Audit committees play a critical role in helping protect investors, and the PCAOB will continue to enforce communications requirements designed to ensure they have the information needed to oversee the auditor’s work and ensure independence.”
Specifically, all six firms failed to make certain required communications with audit committees related to the planned participation of other firms and individuals in the audit, as required by AS 1301.10, Communications with Audit Committees. The firms are the following:
- Cherry Bekaert LLP – $35,000 civil money penalty and censure
- Deloitte Audit (Luxembourg) – $50,000 civil money penalty and censure
- KPMG (Argentina) – $40,000 civil money penalty and censure
- KPMG Auditores Independentes Ltda. (Brazil) – $40,000 civil money penalty and censure
- RH CPA – $45,000 civil money penalty and censure
- UHY LLP – $45,000 civil money penalty and censure
In addition, UHY LLP failed to obtain audit committee pre-approval in connection with providing non-audit services to an issuer audit client, in violation of PCAOB Rule 3520, Auditor Independence, and PCAOB Rule 3524, Audit Committee Pre-Approval of Certain Tax Services.
RH CPA also failed to file an accurate Form AP in violation of PCAOB Rule 3211, Auditor Reporting of Certain Audit Participants.
Without admitting or denying the findings, each firm consented to its respective PCAOB order and disciplinary action. Each firm also consented to undertake remedial measures to establish, improve, or comply with revised policies and procedures concerning compliance with PCAOB rules and standards related to these violations.
“The PCAOB will hold firms accountable for violating PCAOB rules and standards regarding required audit committee communications,” said Robert E. Rice, Director of the PCAOB’s Division of Enforcement and Investigations.
PCAOB enforcement staff members Elliott C. Mogul, Sarah C. Wang, Travis Miscia, Sina Mansouri, Jarai Ings, Pooja Patel, and Natalia Garcia Baerga conducted the investigations. John Abell, Kyra C. Armstrong, and William F. Ryan supervised these matters.
The PCAOB oversees auditors’ compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, provisions of the securities laws relating to auditing and professional standards, and PCAOB and SEC rules. Strengthening enforcement is one of the PCAOB’s strategic goals. Further information about the PCAOB Division of Enforcement and Investigations is available on the PCAOB website.
Firms or individuals wishing to report suspected misconduct by auditors, or to self-report possible misconduct, may visit the PCAOB Tips and Referrals page.
About the PCAOB
The PCAOB is a nonprofit corporation established by Congress to oversee the audits of public companies in order to protect investors and further the public interest in the preparation of informative, accurate, and independent audit reports. The PCAOB also oversees the audits of brokers and dealers registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including compliance reports filed pursuant to federal securities laws.
PCAOB Office of Communications and Engagement