The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has published a list of public accounting firms that have applied for registration to perform public company audits.
As of August 27 - the date of the first list - fewer than 90 CPA firms of the 850+ who performed public company audits last year have yet applied.
Section 102 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 prohibits accounting firms that are not registered with the Board from preparing or issuing audit reports on U.S. public companies and from participating in such audits.
The PCAOB has given U.S. CPA firms a deadline of October 22, 2003 to be fully registered with the Board in order to continue providing auditing services to public companies. But, unlike a tax filing deadline where you simply need to have your paperwork postmarked by the deadline date, the registration process needs to be completed AND APPROVED by the October 22 deadline.
The PCAOB has been granted 45 days to review and approve registration applications, therefore the first week of September is, in effect, the real target date for CPA firms to apply in order to comply with the rules.
So, if your firm is still in deliberations as to whether or not to apply to perform public audits, it's time to make a determination and get the paperwork together.