The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board voted to send out for comment a measure that outlines audit procedures to ferret out whether Securities and Exchange Commission issuers have fixed previously identified internal controls weaknesses. Although Sections 404 and 302 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act mandate that both issuers and auditors must complete an annual assessment of internal controls, the standard from the oversight body would establish a voluntary, stand-alone engagement performed only at the request of the client company at any time of the calendar or fiscal year. The public comment period will be 45 days. The rule would subsequently become final pending a vote by the SEC. Although he defined the new standard as "narrower in scope" than the PCAOB's Auditing Standard No. 2, PCAOB chairman William McDonough said, "Our proposal for a new, voluntary, auditor's engagement to attest to management's corrections of individual material weaknesses will offer companies an opportunity to provide the investing public added assurance that previously disclosed weaknesses have been corrected." While board member Daniel Goelzer said that he thinks the new proposal is important, he described it as a "narrowly drawn tool" that he hopes "will be used sparingly."
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