Tiny step forward in identifying audit partners

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The PCAOB finally approved a proposal to require the lead engagement partner on a public company audit to be disclosed. The name of the partner will have to be listed in a separate form filed with the SEC.

Michael Rapoport gives the few more details that are available:  Regulator Approves Naming of Audit-Firm Partners in Charge of Corporate Audits.

My thinking has changed on this topic. I used to think this was irrelevant.

I now think the best approach would be to disclose most, if not all, of the partners working on an engagement. The second reviewer and tax partners are also key players. On really huge audits, it would be worth tracking who the additional partners are to see if they also have a track record of working on problem audits. That would also allow outsiders to track whether partners are just cycled in-and-out or put on a merry-go-round of taking over each others jobs. Might also allow watching to see if a partner has such a huge supporting load that doesn’t allow paying attention to the audits.

I think it is a very weak step, but a positive step. Unfortunately, I am sure that there will never be any follow up steps.

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