The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has published two sets of staff questions and answers to provide guidance about a registered auditing firm’s obligation to report certain events to the PCAOB in special reports, and the process through which a firm can succeed to a predecessor firm’s registration status.

The PCAOB’s rules on reporting and succession became effective on Dec. 31, 2009. Under the reporting rules, every registered firm is required to file a special report with the PCAOB if certain events occur, such as some types of legal proceedings and the withdrawal of a previously issued audit report. Certain events that occur on or after Dec. 31, 2009, must be reported in a special report on PCAOB Form 3 within 30 days after the event. If the events occurred between the time of a firm’s registration application and Dec. 31, 2009, the firm must report those events on Form 3 by Feb. 1, 2010.

Under the new succession rules, in certain circumstances a firm may permanently succeed to the registration status of a predecessor firm, without the need to file a new registration application, by filing PCAOB Form 4. Under other circumstances that do not satisfy the criteria for permanent succession, a firm may file a form, succeed to the registration status of a predecessor firm for a temporary period while seeking permanent registration through the registration application process.

Topics addressed in the guidance in the staff Q&As include an overview of the special reporting requirements, guidance on completing and amending the reporting form, and a discussion of the mechanics of reporting through the PCAOB’s Web-based system. The PCAOB cautioned that the staff Q&As do not constitute PCAOB rules, nor have they been approved by the board.

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