Washington (March 2, 2004) -- The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board expects to nearly double its staff, which now stands at slightly more than 150 people, in the coming year, the board's chairman said this week.

Most of the PCAOB’s $103 million budget this year will be spent on staff, chairman William McDonough told members of the banking industry in remarks made Monday to the Institute of International Bankers in Washington.

McDonough noted that the PCAOB, which is funded by the public companies that benefit from independent audits rather than by taxpayers, just mailed invoices to some 8,000 companies and mutual funds.

After 14 months of operation, McDonough said the PCAOB employs a little more than 150 people, and expects to be at 300 within the next year.

To date, the board has approved the applications of 771 public accounting firms. In September, the PCAOB adopted rules for investigations and hearings. It also adopted rules on inspections, which are awaiting approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The board, which McDonough noted is "in business to hold auditors accountable for their work," has already begun limited inspection procedures at the Big Four firms, and will soon launch the regular inspections called for in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Regular inspections will occur every year for firms with more than 100 audit clients. All other firms will be inspected once every three years. The board can also order special inspections when it thinks circumstances warrant.

-- WebCPA staff

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