SYNOPSIS

After more than a decade since passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the creation of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), it is appropriate and necessary to ask questions about the present state of audit quality and evaluate the impact and effectiveness of PCAOB's oversight programs. Written from the viewpoint of a current PCAOB Board member and former Managing Director of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), this paper discusses the warning signs of serious auditing problems in the years preceding the Act, and the role that the GAO played in analyzing those risks and calling for greater oversight of the accounting profession's auditing public companies. We must be vigilant and continually examine the activities of the auditing profession and the regulatory regime to ensure that audit independence and audit quality remain front and center to ensure investor protection and safeguard the public interest. Academic researchers play a key role in this system of vigilance. This paper provides views on many areas within the auditing profession that would benefit from further research and analysis, as well as opportunities for research that could be useful to the PCAOB as it considers current and future regulatory priorities.

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