PCAOB to work with Austrian audit regulator

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has entered into a cooperative agreement with the Audit Oversight Body of Austria to do joint inspections and oversight of auditing firms that are subject to both U.S. and Austrian jurisdiction.

The deal also allows for the exchange of confidential information between the two countries. The PCAOB has already entered into similar agreements with more than a dozen other audit regulators in Europe, along with most countries in other parts of the world.

Outside Europe, there are only two jurisdictions where the PCAOB is still prevented from conducting required inspections of audit work performed by PCAOB-registered firms. A list of public companies based in these jurisdictions that trade in the U.S. is on the PCAOB's website.

“We are very pleased to enter into this agreement with the AOBA, which reflects our shared commitment to protecting investors by improving audit quality through international cooperation,” said PCAOB Chairman William D. Duhnke in a statement. “We now have cooperative agreements with 16 audit regulators in Europe, and negotiations are well advanced with the one remaining European country where inspections currently are required.”

Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the PCAOB is required to oversee and inspect all accounting firms that regularly audit public companies whose securities trade in U.S. markets. Nearly 900 audit firms currently registered with the PCAOB are located outside the U.S. in 84 jurisdictions. Currently, six PCAOB-registered firms are located in Austria.

Back in June 30, 2015, the PCAOB said it was unable to conduct inspections of firms located in 12 jurisdictions (Austria, Belgium, China, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland and Portugal). In addition, the PCAOB still isn’t unable to conduct inspections of firms located in Venezuela despite attempts to communicate with the Venezuelan government. The PCAOB has long tried to gain entry to auditing firms in China, but despite a pilot program, it still hasn't been able to do most inspections there.

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