SEC approves PCAOB 2020 budget

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The Securities and Exchange Commission voted Friday to approve the 2020 budget of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, totaling $284.7 million, and the related annual accounting support fee.

The budget is an approximately 4 percent increase over the 2019 budget, while the support fee of $270.2 million is roughly 2.8 percent more than 2019.

The accounting support fee, of which $239.7 million will be assessed on public companies and $30.5 million will be assessed on broker-dealers, approximates the PCAOB’s annual budget. Differences are generally due to certain timing differences in fee collections and PCAOB expenditures, adjustments to the working capital reserve, and the potential for unspent funds from the prior year budget being carried forward into the accounting support fee calculation.

The PCAOB had unveiled a new strategic plan in November 2018 that stressed the need for PCAOB to be a trusted leader promoting high-quality auditing and innovative oversight, as chairman William Duhnke noted in his statement to the SEC regarding the PCAOB’s 2020 budget and 2019-23 strategic plan.

“In 2019, we began the work necessary to implement our new vision and execute on our goals and objectives,” Duhnke wrote. “Doing so has required substantial change. That change has permeated the entire organization, from top to bottom. It has touched nearly every aspect of our work. Change is never easy. We have asked a lot of our people. And we will continue to do so. As a Board, we are highly committed to our mission. That commitment translates into high expectations for our people, who we rely on to accomplish our work. Fulfilling those expectations requires diligence, commitment, and, most of all, an openness to new ideas—ideas that allow us to identify and implement effective and efficient means of promoting audit quality. It also requires looking past the fears that change instills to the opportunities that change presents.”

Duhnke further outlined the PCAOB’s strategic initiatives, which included changes to how it conducts inspections; changes to stakeholder outreach and communications; the addition of new employees, programs and tools; and steps toward optimizing culture.

“While we are proud of what we have accomplished so far, much more remains to be done to fulfill our strategic vision,” Duhnke wrote. “That is why the Board voted unanimously last month to reaffirm our current strategic direction in the 2019-2023 strategic plan.”

The PCAOB will now proceed with issuing invoices to issuers and registered broker-dealers using the budget allocation in accordance with the PCAOB’s funding rules.

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