The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) is now accepting registration information from public accounting firms that plan to continue auditing publicly held companies. Domestic companies have until October 22, 2003 to register, with international firms getting an additional six months.
The PCAOB website announced that "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. Section 106(a) of the Act provides that any non-U.S. public accounting firm that prepares or furnishes an audit report with respect to any U.S. public company is subject to the Board's rules to the same extent as a U.S. public accounting firm. Section 106(a) further authorizes the Board to require that non-U.S. public accounting firms that do not issue such reports, but that play a substantial role in the preparation of the audit reports, register."
Sarbanes-Oxley gave firms 180 days from the date the Securities and Exchange Commission gave the Board authority to implement the Act's provisions. The SEC granted that authority on April 25, 2003, which resulted in the October 22 deadline.
The PCAOB's website provides information about registering online, including, Registration Documentation, Sample Registration Form, Registration FAQ, Announcement of Registration Application Fees, Registration Rule for Public Accounting Firms and SEC Order on Auditors of Broker-Dealers.
The PCAOB announced earlier this month that it had begun mailing invoices to the nation's 5,200 publicly held companies as well as another 3,300 investment firms and issuers of equity, all of whom will foot the bill for the board's $68 million operating budget.
In an announcement in July, the PCAOB outlined how the fees were determined: Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Board's rules, the annual accounting support fees are based on the average monthly U.S. equity market capitalization of publicly traded companies, investment companies and other equity issuers. So, about 62 percent of issuers will pay $1,000 or less in accounting support fees to the PCAOB and the largest 1,000 issuers will pay about 87 percent of the total fees due.