Chair Williams – I want to thank you and your team for your leadership role in the development of the draft 2022-2026 Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) Strategic Plan. I also want to thank my fellow Board members for their dedication and thoughtful questions and ideas at Board working group sessions over the past several months. And most importantly, I want to thank the approximately 800 PCAOB employees for their input on the draft Strategic Plan and for the “heavy lifting” they do day-in and day-out.
I am proud to share the draft Strategic Plan of the PCAOB for public comment. And while there is much we cannot predict about the next four years, there are five things that I am confident about.
- First, the dedicated employees of the PCAOB will continue to work with integrity and uphold the public trust in all that they do to further our mission of ensuring audit quality and protecting investors.
- Second, the PCAOB will explore better ways of conducting operations through innovation.
- Third, the PCAOB will seek diversity of thought and expertise to inform our decisions.
- Fourth, the PCAOB will embrace and adapt to change with agility.
- Fifth, we will hold ourselves accountable for accomplishing meaningful results for investors and the American people.
This roll-out for public comment of the draft Strategic Plan is a seminal moment for the PCAOB and this Board to support our mission of protecting investors. Once finalized, the Strategic Plan will help: (1) prioritize efforts; (2) effectively allocate resources; (3) align employees to the PCAOB Strategic Plan’s goals; and (4) ensure that the fulfillment of those goals is backed by data and sound reasoning.
I am particularly pleased that the draft Strategic Plan emphasizes data and technology, particularly the statement that the PCAOB will leverage both internal teams and external experts to inform our standard-setting agenda.
I am proud to say that I am a “data nerd,” and I advocated for data-driven decision-making and evidence-based policymaking at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Similarly, I believe that the use of data and technology to inform our standard-setting agenda and our programs will enhance our mission of investor protection. For example, using advanced analytics and automated techniques to convert the publicly available inspection report information into structured data would help us see changes in the nature, extent, and frequency of audit deficiencies identified over the past twenty years. This data can help identify trends that inform our standard-setting agenda and our inspections program. Additionally, the structured inspection report data could empower investors to learn more about our inspection results and give them another data source to inform their decisions as well as another avenue to continue to provide feedback on ways the PCAOB can further improve our transparency and accountability. As SEC Chair Gensler and our Chair Williams have recently stated, since the establishment of the PCAOB 20 years ago, our effort to drive audit quality has yielded positive outcomes – something that PCAOB employees past and present should be immensely proud of. The Strategic Plan will help guide us to build on the positive outcomes for even greater impact in the next 20 years.