Which Way Next? Future Thinking

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The chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), James Doty, shared some of the topics being addressed by the PCAOB, such as improving auditor reports. Doty started his keynote speech by saying that directors are on the front lines for improving auditing in public companies. Primarily, directors set the culture of an organization which in turn, can affect corporate activities. Doty also stressed that the need for a board’s guidance and character has never been greater.

Doty continued by sharing the topics being addressed by the PCAOB to assist boards, and specifically audit committees, in carrying out their duties. Among the top concerns was the oversight of multinational audits and the PCAOB’s difficulty in inspecting foreign auditing firms registered in the U.S. Doty outlined the PCAOB’s efforts to address these issues and what boards of directors can do to alleviate their own concerns.

Doty also touched on the agenda going forward at the PCAOB. The Board is mostly focused on improving the relevance and redibility of audit reports following the recession. Doty said that some in the business community are beginning to question the value of audits and the Board seeks to remedy this. He outlined the subjects gathering attention by the PCAOB, including auditor independence and more robust and transparent auditor reports.

Doty concluded his speech by asking one thing from conference attentees: engagement. He explained that there are significant challenges facing auditors and auditing committees and that the answer will be found only through continued discussion with the director community.

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