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What is the PCAOB auditor process for public companies?

What is the PCAOB auditor process for public companies?

I’ve worked with public companies since 1998 in some form or fashion – either being the investor who provides the equity to “go public”, being the private company who goes through the process of going public, or being the consultant who helps the private companies through the process. One of the most frustrating parts of either “going public” or being public is interacting with the PCAOB auditors. Most of the frustration comes from the process, a good process at that, but a process of completing the audit itself – it’s a process that provides the auditors with the background documents and confirmation that the financial information that they have received is correct.

The Process

For the uninitiated, the process is one that can be daunting the first time you go through it, and can make you hate even your best friend who is a PCAOB auditor, but it is a process that you must be familiar with in order to complete.  Here is the process step by step:

  1. Engagement letter
  2. Requested information list issued from auditor
  3. Information requested sent to auditor
  4. Process information, roll forwards, etc.
  5. First partner review
  6. Client responses to (5)
  7. First audit partner review
  8. Client responses to (7)
  9. Second audit partner review
  10. Client responses to (9)
  11. If 10K, auditor must receive all third party confirmations prior to filing
  12. Partners sign off
  13. EDGAR-ization / XBRL
  14. EDGAR-ized sent to auditor / client for sign off
  15. EDGAR-ized & XBRL filed

Usually after you’ve gone through all of this, it’s time for a vacation because it is a gut wrenching process by which the auditors determine if they have all the detail in order to provide their opinion that the financials are a fair representation of reality.  Remember, this is not an opinion that you have not committed fraud or some other malfeasance, but that you have provided them all of the documentation that they require.

 


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