The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or PCAOB, has issued a guide to assist members of audit committees who may be interested in asking about PCAOB regulatory inspections of their auditor. The PCAOB itself is restricted by law in what information it can provide, although the audit firms generally are not. The guide explains the contents of PCAOB inspection reports, noting that a report has two parts: Part I, which is publicly available, describes audit deficiencies where the PCAOB inspection staff found the auditor failed to gather sufficient audit evidence to support an audit opinion. Part II, which is not available from the PCAOB, typically describes deficiencies in the firm's overall system of quality control.
The guide issued by the PCAOB suggests four "possible questions audit committees may wish to ask their audit firms about PCAOB inspections." These questions are as follows:
1. Was the company's audit selected for PCAOB inspection?
2. Did the PCAOB identify deficiencies in other audits that involved auditing or accounting issues similar to issues presented in the company's audit?
3. What were the audit firm's responses to the PCAOB findings?
4. What topics are included in Part II findings?
The complete PCAOB guide can be found here.