The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is heading to Houston to host its third public meeting on auditor independence and audit firm rotation. The board wants to get sense of how to enhance auditor independence, objectivity and professional skepticism, including mandatory rotation, or term limits, for audit firms.

The meeting, which will be open to the public, will take place on Oct. 18, 2012, at Rice University in the Shell Auditorium, at the Jones Graduate School of Business. The meeting will be available through webcast on the PCAOB Web site and will start around 8:30 a.m.

On Aug. 16, 2011, the board issued a concept release to discuss measures that could improve auditor independence, objectivity and professional skepticism.

The release had a number of questions related to mandatory audit firm term limits including whether the PCAOB should consider a firm rotation requirement for audit tenures of more than 10 years, or only for the largest issuer audits.

The board held its first public meeting on the matter in March in Washington, D.C. (see Hot topic, cool talk (mostly)) and followed up in June with its second in San Francisco. (see PCAOB Hears Further Debate over Audit Rotation)

PCAOB Chairman James Doty said in a statement that the release was crafted to initiate discussions of auditor independence and issues that can threaten fundamental investor protection. “This effort is accomplishing a substantive debate, and the PCAOB benefits from the diverse range of views that have been gathered,” he explained. “In Houston, the board hopes to expand upon and further explore themes raised at both the Washington, D.C., and San Francisco public meetings.”

For the Houston meeting, panelists will be asked to present their views on the matters raised in the concept release, and board members will have the opportunity to ask panelists follow-up questions.

The schedule and list of panelists will be made available closer to the meeting date.