I support the Board's Strategic Plan and associated Budget.
Independent and consistently high quality financial statement audits are an essential tool in helping ensure reliable and relevant financial reporting for our capital markets. The PCAOB's oversight of public company audits is critical in driving continuous improvement in audit quality.
As in prior years, our Plan will continue to guide us in being more proactive, relevant, innovative and collaborative; thereby improving the effectiveness of our oversight activities.
There are several elements of the Plan that, consistent with last year, I view as particularly important:
- First and foremost, our primary focus on how we can best drive improvements in audit quality, with an emphasis on promoting the prevention of audit deficiencies. In this regard, I am particularly supportive of our project to reassess our quality control standards.
- Also of importance:
- Our efforts to improve the relevance and timeliness of information we share about audit quality;
- Our continuing commitment to more effective stakeholder engagement, particularly with investors, audit committees and preparers, and with other audit regulators internationally; and
- Finally, our evaluation of opportunities and risks associated with innovations in data analytics and technologies, and of the implications for audits and our own oversight activities.
Of course, we cannot succeed without our Staff. We are fortunate to have a team of highly dedicated and capable professionals. As set forth in our Plan, we remain committed to further develop, empower and meaningfully engage our people and further cultivate a high-integrity, collaborative and inclusive culture.
Achieving our strategic objectives is enabled through our programs, operations and improvement initiatives. I have reviewed the associated spending amounts reflected in the 2021 Budget, which I believe are appropriate relative to the strategies we are executing.
Notably, the 2021 Budget reflects targeted increases in the staffing of our Office of the Chief Auditor function, to appropriately support the ongoing projects to update our standards on Quality Control and Supervision of Audits Involving Other Auditors. This increase in staffing will also help ensure we continue to advance our Data and Technology and Audit Evidence research projects.
As stewards of the fees collected to fund our efforts, we must operate as effectively and efficiently as possible. It is important, therefore, that we continue to optimize our program effectiveness, our internal processes and our information technology investments.
The PCAOB plays a critical role in our capital markets. I believe our Plan will continue to enable us to meet our strategic objectives and achieve our statutory mission.
I thank my fellow Board members, the entire PCAOB staff and the SEC for their collaboration and partnership over the past year, and I look forward to together making further progress in driving continuous improvement in audit quality.