The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has entered into a cooperative arrangement with the Auditors’ Public Oversight Authority of the Ministry for the National Economy of Hungary to oversee audit firms subject to both regulators’ jurisdictions.

The agreement takes effect immediately, the PCAOB said Thursday. “Our Hungarian counterparts put great effort into establishing an independent audit inspection program, and we look forward to working closely together for our mutual benefit,” said PCAOB Chairman James R. Doty in a statement. “This further strengthens the PCAOB’s cooperative arrangements in Europe, which are driven by our shared goals to improve audit quality and protect investors.”

The agreement with the Hungarian authority provides a framework for joint inspections and provides for data protection and the exchange of confidential information.

“Our ongoing transatlantic cooperation agreements have been fruitful for investors,” said PCAOB director of international affairs Bruce Wilson. “We are pleased that we have found a way to move forward with a framework for joint inspections with the APOA as we have with many other EU Member State regulators. The means to cooperate with the PCAOB are now well established. We look forward to concluding similar agreements with the handful of remaining European regulators where such agreements are needed.”

Within the European Union, the PCAOB has reached similar agreements with Denmark, Sweden, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In addition, the PCAOB has agreements with Switzerland, Norway and Australia, and several regulators in North America, the Middle East, and Asia.
Since the inception of its international inspection program in 2004, the PCAOB has conducted inspections in 45 foreign jurisdictions. The board seeks to coordinate its inspections with the local authorities to enhance investor protection and audit quality through cooperation and the sharing of information.

More than 900 of the approximately 2,200 audit firms currently registered with the PCAOB are located outside of the U.S. in 85 other countries, including six registered firms in Hungary affiliated with BDO, Ernst & Young, Grant Thornton, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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