The PCAOB Audit Quality Indicator Framework Project: Feedback From Stakeholders

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Arianna S. Pinello
Ara G. Volkan
Justin Franklin
Michael Levatino
Kimberlee Tiernan



Audit Quality Indicators (AQIs), as defined by the Center for Audit Quality, include four different elements:firm leadership and tone at the top; engagement team knowledge, experience, and workload; monitoring; and auditor reporting. AQIs are quantitative and qualitative measures designed to improve audit quality and help audit committees select the best audit firm for their current needs. They are intended to increase the reliability and accuracy of financial reporting. The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) has issued a concept release proposing twenty-eight potential AQIs for use in the United States. The PCAOB release describes the AQI reporting framework and asks for public opinion on whether or not it should be implemented. This study reviews the comment letters in response to PCAOB Docket 041,Concept Release on Audit Quality Indicators, and the AQI reporting frameworks currently in place in the United Kingdom, Singapore, and other countries. After reviewing the PCAOB’s proposed AQI framework, response letters to Docket 041, and the AQI frameworks used in other countries, this paper provides an opinion on how the PCAOB should proceed with the AQI framework initiative in the U.S. The analysis suggests that AQI reporting should not be mandated in the U.S., but should become a flexible and voluntary framework that provides valuable information, enhances transparency in the audit profession, and establishes a commitment to the improvement of audit quality.


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