The US Supreme Court decision on the
constitutionality of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board
(PCAOB) is a victory for investors and the accounting profession,
according to Barry Melancon.
The American Institute of Certified Public
Accountants president and chief executive was one of many industry
leaders welcoming this week’s ruling.
The Supreme Court decision means PCAOB members
can be removed by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
at will. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), which created the PCAOB,
stated that board members could only be removed for good cause.
All other aspects of the SEC’s oversight, the
structure of the PCAOB and its programmes including registration,
inspection, enforcement, and standard-setting activities are
unaffected by the decision.
PCAOB acting chairman Daniel Goelzer said the
board is pleased with the decision.
“The decision allows the PCAOB to continue
without interruption to carry out its important mission of
overseeing public company audits in order to protect investors and
promote the public interest,” Goelzer said.
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SEC chair Mary Schapiro said she was pleased
with the decision to allow the PCAOB’s operations to continue and
the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), with its tenure restrictions excised,
to remain fully in effect.
“We look forward to continuing to work with
the PCAOB in connection with its mission to oversee auditors in
order to protect the interests of investors and further the public
interest in the preparation of informative, accurate and
independent audit reports,” Schapiro said
SEC chief accountant James Kroeker added the
PCAOB’s auditing standards as approved by the SEC will continue to
apply. Audit firms are still required to be registered with the
PCAOB and they are still subject to PCAOB inspections.
SOX co-authors Paul Sarbanes and Michael Oxley
issued a joint statement in support of the PCAOB.
“The PCAOB provides essential protections to
the more than half of American households that invest savings in
securities. It ensures the integrity of public company audits and,
thereby, the accuracy of financial reporting. The PCAOB enjoys
widespread support from investors as well as from the accounting
profession, Sarbanes and Oxley said.
“The decision from the Supreme Court adjusts
the law in a way that allows the PCAOB to continue to ensure the
integrity of public company audits. The board’s essential
protections of American investors will continue.”