August 13, 2020

PCAOB: Just Stop Altering Audit Workpapers Already

Are you an auditor? Do you have any public company clients? Have you recently been notified that the PCAOB will be inspecing the audit of one of those public company clients? Are you now just remembering that you may have left something out of the audit documentation that would definitely get you in trouble with the inspectors?

WAIT! Don't. Move.

In the past several years, the Board has sanctioned firms and individuals for improperly deleting, adding, or altering audit documentation.

Enforcement staff recently uncovered evidence of additional instances of similar auditor misconduct at a range of firms, including firms affiliated with global networks. Addressing these matters is a higher priority for the Enforcement Division.

I know it might be hard, but just leave it be:

The consequences of providing improperly altered audit documentation to PCAOB inspectors or investigators may in many cases be far more severe than would be the consequences of the PCAOB staff identifying the audit deficiency that the revisions to the documentation attempt to obscure.

You must resist temptation. Be strong. Auditor strong.

[PCAOB Enforcement, Staff Audit Practice Alert]

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