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Standing Advisory Group’s Task Force Shelved

At a Standing Advisory Group (“SAG”) meeting last month, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) Chairman James Doty announced that the Board will no longer pursue creating a task force for identifying accounting fraud. Responding to a question concerning such efforts, Doty remarked that the PCAOB will tackle fraud through a series of outreach efforts. In this approach, Doty believes the issues can be addressed through private discussions in group settings.

Originating in November 2012, the task force idea gained traction after SAG members believed it would help improve auditing practices and provide recommendations to the PCAOB. The PCAOB’s staff even suggested where the task force could initially focus its efforts, such as the economic impact of fraud. Soon after, the PCAOB’s Center for Economic Analysis and Office of Research and Analysis backed the task force idea.

Despite growing support, Doty said the PCAOB isn’t ready to handle the responsibilities and stresses of a task force. Rather, small, private group discussions allow people familiar with accounting fraud to share previous experiences and advise on how to approach such issues. Additionally, PCAOB Chief Auditor Marty Baumann commented that some auditors have shared details confidentially that they would not in a public setting. Baumann further mentioned that the PCAOB can hold public meetings regarding outreach efforts on financial reporting that incorporates total SAG participation, thus making the need for a task force unnecessary.

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