I am pleased to support the PCAOB's 2018 to 2022 Strategic Plan and 2019 budget. Although these two documents are inextricably linked, I want to address them separately, beginning with the Strategic Plan.
With the arrival of five new Board members earlier this year, the PCAOB began a process of reassessing and renewing its commitment to the mission of protecting investors and furthering the public interest in the preparation of informative, accurate, and independent audit reports. The result is a five-year plan that is innovative, yet practical, and one that I fully support.
In particular, I support the initiative for the PCAOB to drive continuous improvement in the quality of audit services and more clearly communicate our assessment of the quality we observe. The PCAOB's existence has led to greatly improved audit quality for public companies and broker-dealers. Now is the time to reassess how we carry out our mission. To do this, we must focus not only on detecting audit deficiencies, but also preventing them from occurring in the first place. We will need to take a forward-looking and balanced approach as we carry out our oversight activities.
I also support the Strategic Plan's focus on the PCAOB being more innovative in its oversight activities and at the same time preparing for significant market-driven changes in the audit profession. This is important so we do not inadvertently impede innovation as we work to accomplish our mission.
I fully endorse our commitment to engage more often and more directly with our stakeholders. This includes a broader array of investors, as well as audit committees, preparers, and our other stakeholders to promote robust and timely dialogue regarding the quality of audit services.
Finally, I cannot overstate how important it is to me that we optimize our operations. This includes increasing and optimizing our information technology investments to strengthen our capabilities. We must technology enable our workforce and go mobile.
Enhancing the culture of our organization is also imperative. These past few months as a Board member have proven to me that we have highly capable staff that is deeply committed to our mission. Going forward, we will collectively reinforce a culture that expects integrity, pursues excellence, operates with effectiveness, embraces collaboration, and demands accountability.
I also support the 2019 budget of approximately $273 million. This funding level will enable us to meet the regulatory demands of driving continuous improvement in audit quality, while also being fiscally accountable and transparent to all of our stakeholders. This budget recognizes the need for our skilled regulatory oversight, which balances audit quality with an ever changing financial reporting environment.
With this increase, the PCAOB will be even better equipped to fulfill our mission – particularly with regard to information technology. Technological resources are critical to the PCAOB's ability to carry out its mission.
Let me end by thanking the staff in our Office of Administration for their tireless efforts in bringing this budget forward. In particular, thank you to Suzanne Kinzer, Jim Hearn, and Bill Wiggins. Thank you, as well, to my fellow Board members and all of our staff for their collaboration and collegiality throughout the entire strategy and budget process. Finally, thank you to our colleagues at the Securities & Exchange Commission.
We are just beginning to take the first steps on what will surely be a longer journey to more improved audit quality. This strategic plan, and the proposed budget, put us on the right path for making that journey through effective transformation and continuous reassessment of our programs. I look forward to working with the staff, my fellow Board members, and all of our stakeholders to make this new strategic plan a reality.