The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has signed a cooperative agreement with the Irish Auditing and Accounting Supervisory Authority, allowing them to cooperate on joint inspections and oversight of auditing firms subject to both organizations’ regulatory jurisdiction.

The agreement with Ireland provides a framework for joint inspections and permits the exchange of confidential information in accordance with Irish law and the U.S.’s Sarbanes-Oxley Act. With this latest deal, the PCAOB has executed cooperative agreements with 15 European audit regulators.

PCAOB-registered firms in Ireland audit many companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges, accounting for a total market capitalization of approximately $75 billion. The PCAOB already has cooperative agreements in place in most countries in Europe where there are PCAOB-registered firms that the board inspects.

“I am pleased that we have reached this agreement with the IAASA, which will allow the PCAOB to conduct joint inspections and other coordinated oversight,” said PCAOB Chairman James R. Doty in a statement. “The agreement reflects our common interest in enhancing investor protection in our respective markets through rigorous audit oversight.”

Under Sarbanes-Oxley, the PCAOB is required by law to oversee and inspect all accounting firms that regularly audit public companies whose securities trade on U.S. markets. Nearly 900 audit firms currently registered with the PCAOB are located outside the U.S. in 84 countries. Currently, 12 registered firms are in Ireland.

PCAOB chairman James Doty
PCAOB chairman James Doty Photographer: Rich Clement/Bloomberg

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Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.