The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) on Monday announced the conclusion of its 45-day relief period on audit inspections without an extension.
The inspection pause was announced by the PCAOB on March 23 as the coronavirus pandemic began to take hold of the United States. At the time, the PCAOB said the relief period would provide an opportunity “for a pause [that] will give audit firms the time, resources, and flexibility to work through significant matters with their issuer and broker-dealer clients.”
The PCAOB said then it was expecting to fully resume inspections May 11; the worsening of the pandemic in the United States did not affect that stated goal. “While this situation continues to present a unique set of challenges, the PCAOB has maintained the continuity of our operations and our commitment to our work remains unchanged,” the agency said Monday.
With PCAOB employees following mandatory, organization-wide work-from-home orders and not permitted to travel internationally or domestically, the inspection process is likely to see change as it resumes. The PCAOB said its “enforcement and investigative efforts continue to the maximum extent possible as we prioritize and address issues that pose the greatest risk to investors.”
The agency is coordinating with the Securities and Exchange Commission and other domestic and non-U.S. financial regulators and governmental authorities.