The board’s draft plan is something of a departure for the PCAOB in that the board is asking for opinions from affected sectors first before moving to a proposed plan, which will attempt to seed improvements in the quality of audit services performed for companies.

Most of the implementation language of the draft is very general. But the tone appears to be more collaborative than the board’s tone under past Chairman James Doty. William Duhnke, formerly a Republican staffer on the Senate Banking Committee, became chairman in January 2018 and was joined by four other new commissioners. In comments on the draft, the Financial Reporting Committee of IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants), wrote: “We believe that the Board tended to develop its thinking on issues internally and then asked for public reaction.

“This new approach of listen first and only then begin to develop a position appears to signal an important change in Board thinking that we hope will lead to a more collaborative and improved process.” The comments argued that the “old” board and staff showed “an overly cynical attitude toward the professionalism of auditors and preparers.”

About the Authors