Statement on the PCAOB 2020-2024 Strategic Plan and 2021 Budget

I am pleased to support the 2021 Budget and its accompanying strategic plan.

2020 has been a year unlike any other in the PCAOB's history. Consistent with its observed global impact, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our operations, our oversight activities, and our people. When we transitioned to 100% remote work back in March, none of us could have imagined that we would spend the remainder of the year and into 2021 working remotely. Fortunately, all of our divisions and offices have operated without major disruptions to the accomplishment of our mission during this time.

In fact, notwithstanding the pandemic, 2020 has been a productive and successful year by all measures. We have continued conducting and soon will complete all planned 2020 domestic inspections. We have also completed a number of international inspections and have furthered our transformation efforts across our entire inspections function, including by issuing inspection reports in an entirely revised format. We have pivoted the work of our target team to focus on COVID-19 and its impacts on quarterly reviews and audits issued after the onset of the pandemic.

With respect to our standard-setting efforts, we have continued to pursue those projects that we believe are of the greatest importance at present, including quality control and auditor independence. We have continued to advance our enforcement priorities, focusing in particular on those matters likely to have the greatest benefit for investors, including substantive audit failures. We have furthered our important strategic goal of improving our engagement with stakeholders. We have held virtual roundtables and meetings with investors, audit committees, preparers, and audit firms alike. We have issued numerous staff documents specifically targeted to defined stakeholder groups to assist them in implementing and understanding new and revised standards and to understanding what we are seeing through our inspections.

We have likewise advanced our efforts around classifying and leveraging our vast data stores. We have continued to build out our enterprise risk management function. We have furthered our work of optimizing our culture, including by advancing our diversity and inclusion efforts.

In short, the organization has remained steadfast and committed during this period of upheaval to advancing our vision for the organization and executing against our strategic plan. We will continue these efforts into 2021.

The 2021 Budget that we adopt today will provide us the resources necessary to further our strategic progress and to advance our vision to be a trusted leader that promotes high quality auditing through forward-looking, responsive, and innovative oversight. The proposal represents a modest $2.6 million—or less than 1%—increase over last year's budget. When combined with operational savings we achieved this year, the 2021 Budget results in a 2.3% lower accounting support fee for issuers and broker dealers in 2021 as compared to 2020. The budget will allow us to add staff across several offices to assist with ongoing needs, including in the Office of the Chief Auditor, the Office of the General Counsel, the Office of Administration, and the Office of Enterprise Risk Management.

In closing, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we feel confident that we are improving the effectiveness of our oversight, becoming more innovative, improving our engagement, and optimizing our processes and culture. I extend my thanks to the PCAOB and SEC staff members who have contributed to our budget process this year. I appreciate the significant efforts made and I am pleased to support the recommendation. Thank you.