Washington (April 24, 2003) --The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board approved a sweeping new system to register firms both domestically and outside the United States.

Under a plan okayed the oversight body, U.S.-based firms would be required to register by the third quarter of this year.

Non-U.S. accountants had sought to be exempt from U.S. registration but the PCAOB rejected a request from foreign auditors who audit companies listed on American stock exchanges. for U.S. registration exemption. However, the board extended their registration period by six months - to April 2004.

The PCAOB reiterated that inspections of the Big Four will begin this summer.

-- WebCPA staff

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