The Securities and Exchange Commission voted Wednesday to approve the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s 2015 budget and annual accounting support fee, which were both lower than last year.

The PCAOB budget totals $250.9 million and will be mostly funded by the collection of an accounting support fee totaling $226.6 million and from under-spending in 2014 that will be available to fund the 2015 budget.

To support the $226.6 million accounting support fee, public companies will be assessed $199.1 million and registered broker-dealers will be assessed $27.5 million.

The PCAOB’s 2015 budget represents a decrease of approximately 3 percent from its 2014 budget of $258.4 million and an increase of approximately 8 percent over its estimated $232.4 million in spending last year. The 2015 accounting support fee of $226.6 million is approximately 10 percent lower than the 2014 accounting support fee of $252 million.

“The PCAOB’s work to oversee auditors of public companies and SEC registered broker-dealers is critical to investor protection and our markets,” said SEC chair Mary Jo White in a statement.  “The PCAOB in 2015 will expand its inspection program of broker dealer audits, conduct inspections of issuer audits around the world and work to advance a number of important standard-setting initiatives.  It is the responsibility of the Commission to make sure that the PCAOB has the necessary funds to fulfill all aspects of its important mission and that it responsibly and optimally uses those funds.”

PCAOB chairman James Doty told the SEC Wednesday that the budget would help the board identify and implement ways to advance new standards more efficiently, as well as address high rates of noncompliance with existing standards. “This budget will allow us to conduct 300 inspections of registered firms, including 75 inspections of firms that audit broker-dealers,” he added. “We will also work closely with firms whose past inspections revealed quality control problems, to evaluate the firms' measures to improve quality.”

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