SYNOPSIS: The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) established the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) to oversee the accounting firms that audit publicly traded companies in the United States. In this commentary we outline why we believe the PCAOB’s audit standard-setting and inspection models are inefficient and dysfunctional. We assert that the Board’s ability to achieve its mission is limited by its early choices, together with its incentives, organizational composition, and structure. We support our assertions with a number of indicators of serious problems and flaws in the current approach. We also present high-level recommendations for change for policy makers, regulators, and leaders in the profession to consider in developing improved approaches to audit standard setting, inspection, and enforcement.

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