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November 30, 2011

Foreign inspections force PCAOB costs to rise

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) has increased its annual budget by 11.4% so it can hire more staff to inspect foreign firms. The watchdog approved a new five-year strategic plan and a 2012 fiscal-year budget of $227.7m, which is subject to Securities and Exchange Commission approval.

Public companies will foot 86% of the PCAOB’s bill, while broker-dealers will pay 8%. The remainder is funded by PCAOB-registered accounting firms.

The main expense to increase in the 2012 budget is staffing expenses, such as travel, in order for the PCAOB to increase the number of non-US inspections. More than 900 out of 2,405 PCAOB-registered accounting firms are based outside the US, while 561 firms have registered since 2009 as they audit non-public broker-dealers.

The budget assumes PCAOB will hire 98 new staff, raising the headcount to 810. “The budget and the strategic plan build on the foundation laid over the last nine years. But they also reflect current challenges and the public’s expectations for the organisation,” said PCAOB chairman James Doty.


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