Yesterday, the PCAOB voted to require foreign auditors who audit companies that sell securities in the US to register with it (the SEC still must approve these rules before they become effective). This was a controversial action after intense lobbying by overseas regulators, who argued that accountants should abide by rules set by their own countries and noted conflicts with their country’s privacy laws. The PCOAB still must address the controversial issue of whether foreign auditors will be subject to the Board’s inspections and discipline.
In response to the 40 comment letters received, the PCAOB agreed to give foreign auditors an additional 6months to register – until April 2004. It also agreed that foreign auditors would not have to provide certain kinds of information if they include copies of the conflicting privacy law, legal opinions on the issue, and a certification that they tried and failed to get waivers to provide the information in question.
In addition, the PCAOB adopted a $68 million 2003 budget, announcing that it would hire as many as 200 accountants and support staffers by the end of the year and would open a New York office. Companies will receive invoices for support fees based on this budget sometime in May.
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