Washington (Aug. 8, 2003) – The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is urging public accounting firms to visit its Web site and register soon to be in compliance with federal law.

Public accounting firms that wish to apply for registration must complete and submit Form 1 by the first week of September. The form is available to qualified applicants at www.pcaobus.org

 “We have staff in place to work with accounting firms to meet that timetable,” said George Diacont, director of registration and inspections for the PCAOB.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Board require the registration of all public accounting firms that issue or prepare audit reports on U.S. public companies, or that play a substantial role in the preparation of such audit reports.

Beginning October 22, 2003, U.S. public accounting firms must be registered with the Board in order to engage in that work. The Act provides the Board 45 days to review registration applications.

Meanwhile, accounting firms that register with the PCAOB won't necessarily be allowed to withdraw that registration at a later date, even if they cease their auditing activities.

Under a rule proposed by the Board last month, firms targeted for investigation by PCAOB, as well as those facing disciplinary proceedings, will not be granted freedom to unilaterally withdraw from registration.

De-registration requests are granted within 60 days, under the proposed rule. Enforcement officials at the Board are concerned, however, that audit firms under investigation for wrongdoing will use registration withdrawal to avoid PCAOB penalties or other sanctions.

--WebCPA staff

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