Audit, Accounting & Financial Reporting

Looking Forward

The last 18 months have been a period of considerable change and dislocation at the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. In 2018, an entirely new slate of five board members took charge, and in October 2019 the SEC appointed yet another new board member. At the same time, the senior staff of the board has experienced significant turnover. In December 2019, the PCAOB appointed Ken Lench, an experienced and respected enforcement lawyer with senior SEC and private practice experience, as its new general counsel, and appointed Patrick Bryan, formerly head of enforcement at the Fed and a veteran of the SEC’s Trial Unit, as the PCAOB’s new director of enforcement and investigations. These new appointments may signal an end to the turbulence at the PCAOB and a refocus on core activities. Also in December 2019, the SEC granted the PCAOB’s request for a modest increase in its budget from $274 million to $285 million, which will be used in part to increase its staff from 838 to 850 positions.