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US audit firms to disclose the partners who carry out audits

The US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) has  announced that its rules to improve the transparency of the audit by disclosing the names of audit engagement partners, as well as information about other firms that participate in the audits, were approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Audit firms are required to file with the PCAOB on a new form, Form AP, the name of the engagement partner for all public company audits issued on or after January 31, 2017. Information about other audit firms participating in the audit must be filed for all public company audits issued on or after June 30, 2017.

“Auditing is a profession built on reputation, and one important way investors can assess the quality of an audit is to know who conducted that audit,” said PCAOB Chairman James R. Doty. “Form AP will provide that important information to investors.”

Matt Waldron, a director of financial reporting policy at CFA Institute, welcomed the new rules in a recent blog posting. “There have been many ups and downs along the way leading to a final rule, but thankfully, investors and other interested users will now be able to see the individual responsible for the independent audit. This information will no longer be obscured behind only the firm name.” He said that the CFA Institute has consistently advocated for disclosure of the engagement partner as a means to enhance audit quality.

What do you think?