For the past 10 years, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) has operated as an independent overseer of public company audits. Over 70 percent of PCAOB studies have been published since 2010, evidencing the increasing relevance of PCAOB-related research in recent years. Our paper reviews the existing literature on the PCAOB's four primary functions – registration, standard-setting, inspections, and enforcement. In particular, we examine PCAOB registration trends and evaluate the effects of PCAOB registration requirements on the issuer audit market, as well as discuss the relative costs and benefits (e.g., auditor behavior changes, improvements in audit quality, auditor perceptions) of the 16 auditing standards the PCAOB passed in its first 10 years of operation. Further, we summarize the literature's findings on the effects of the PCAOB inspection process on various facets of audit quality. Finally, we analyze the research concerning the PCAOB's enforcement actions to determine how markets have responded to sanctions against auditors and audit firms. We contend that understanding and reviewing the effects of the PCAOB's activities are important to future audit research because of the PCAOB's authority over and oversight of the issuer audit profession. We also identify PCAOB-related research areas that have not been fully explored and propose several research questions intended to address these research areas.
Journal of Accounting Literature
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Abernathy, John; Barnes, Michael; and Stefaniak, Chad, "A Summary of Ten Years of PCAOB Research: What Have We Learned" (2013). Faculty Publications. 3677.