August 14, 2020

Even the PCAOB Is Now Hunkering Down at Home

This was just emailed to us by the PCAOB and has since been posted to its website. In case you haven’t heard yet, the PCAOB is going the mandatory work-from-home route too, effective immediately.

The message says:

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is providing the following update on our current operations in light of COVID-19.

First and foremost, we are focused on the health and safety of our employees and those with whom we interact.  As a result, following a transition period of more flexible work from home, we will begin a mandatory, organization-wide work from home policy effective close of business today.  We will continue to closely monitor the evolving situation and reassess our policy as appropriate.

Our division and office leadership teams are in frequent communication as we work to maintain the continuity of our operations.  Our commitment to our work remains unchanged, including providing transparent, timely, and useful information to our stakeholders.

Below is a summary of certain PCAOB activities and information on any impact COVID-19 may have on them:

  • We are positioned to conduct our domestic firm inspections remotely to the maximum extent possible as we closely coordinate with audit firms.
  • We have suspended international travel, including for non-U.S. firm inspections, for the months of March and April.
  • Our enforcement and investigative efforts are continuing to the maximum extent possible as we prioritize and address issues that pose the greatest risk to investors.
  • While our comment deadline for the concept release on Potential Approach to Revisions to PCAOB Quality Control Standards was March 16, 2020, we are committed to receiving broad-based input from our stakeholders.  Any comments received within a reasonable timeframe will be treated in the same manner as comments submitted on or before the deadline.
  • Our registration activities will continue during this time, including with respect to the processing of applications and responding to queries on registration matters.
  • We have cancelled in-person stakeholder events, including audit committee and preparer roundtables, the PCAOB/AAA annual meeting, and student visits.  We look forward to staying connected virtually and plan to hold webinars and/or other virtual meetings.
  • Our Board will continue to meet and vote on pending items through our modern governance systems that allow the Board to conduct its business remotely and securely.
  • As always, we are closely coordinating with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and other domestic and non-U.S. financial regulators and governmental authorities as appropriate.

As we navigate these uncharted waters, we remain operational and focused on our mandate to protect investors and the public interest by promoting informative, accurate, and independent audit reports.  We will, however, adjust our regulatory and operational activities as necessary.  While the COVID-19 situation continues to present a unique set of challenges, we are grateful to our staff for their flexibility and dedication as we continue to carry out our core oversight functions and other important work to support the PCAOB’s mission, vision, and values.

[PCAOB]

Related article:

SEC Employees In DC Will Be Working From Home for the Time Being

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