The US audit watchdog is planning to bolster its workforce and
ramp up international inspections by 40 percent in the next 12
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) highlighted
the need to adapt to environmental changes, including the expanded
use of IFRS and eXtensible Business Reporting Language, in its
annual five-year strategic plan released in March.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission recently changed the
rules to allow foreign private issuers to prepare their financial
statements in accordance with IFRS and there is now debate on
whether this option should extend further.
Preparation for the introduction of IFRS rated a strong mention in
this year’s PCAOB plan despite not appearing once in 2007’s roadmap
– an indication that IFRS choice could soon be expanded to US
companies. Any change in the regulatory landscape would require the
PCAOB to re-evaluate its function and increase the size and
skill-set of its workforce, a spokesperson said.
“Should the SEC allow or require the use of IFRS, the PCAOB will
have to increase the amount of resources for IFRS training for
staff and recruitment of highly experienced IFRS auditors,” a PCAOB
spokesperson told TA. “In addition, the board would
evaluate whether any additional adjustments to its programmes or
new initiatives are needed to prepare for such a significant
transition in financial reporting. For example, the board might
consider issuing guidance pertaining to audits of financial
statements prepared in accordance with IFRS.”
The PCAOB plans to employ 507 staff this year. This is predicted to
rise to 536 staff by 2011. But finding sufficient talent in a
highly-competitive market is a challenge that could escalate if
IFRS takes hold. As the US has only recently warmed to IFRS, the
majority of its workforce are not trained to use global standards,
which is likely to inflate the demand for those who have these
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In another sign of the growing global scope of the PCAOB’s work,
international inspections will rise from 72 in 2008 to 101 in