The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has approved a reduced budget for fiscal year 2018 of approximately $259.9 million along with a strategic plan for 2017-2021, plus a smaller accounting support fee and staff.

The PCAOB’s 2018 budget is $8.6 million, or 3.2 percent below last year’s budget of $268.5 million. The cuts come amid a trend toward belt tightening in Washington, D.C., as government agencies reduce their staff under the Trump administration.

“The 2018 budget reflects a diligent and thoughtful review of the resources necessary for the PCAOB to continue protecting investors through audit oversight," said PCAOB Chairman James R. Doty in a statement.

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

The total accounting support fee for 2018 will be $235.3 million, or $32.6 million less than the support fee in 2017. Approximately $205.4 million of the 2018 accounting support fee is allocated to public companies and $29.9 million is allocated to brokers and dealers.

The PCAOB also plans to trim its staff in the year ahead.

“The reduction reflects careful consideration by the board and division and office leaders about how to use our resources in a fiscally responsible manner with no negative effect on the PCAOB’s ability to carry out its mission in 2018,” said PCAOB board member Steven Harris. “Notably, the budget before us is designed to allow the board to fulfill its mission in 2018 with fewer resources than in 2017. A significant portion—a net of approximately $3.5 million—of the reduction was accomplished by decreasing headcount to 842 in 2018. This is based on a reconsideration of the mix of staff needed throughout the organization, which resulted in the elimination of certain vacant positions and combining roles, where possible. “

Currently, 1,935 public accounting firms are registered with the PCAOB, including 890 based outside the U.S. and 456 that audit broker-dealers.

The PCAOB budget is subject to Securities and Exchange Commission approval.

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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.