Perspectives

Highlights of the 2019 AICPA Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments

This Heads Up extracts key insights from this year’s three-day AICPA Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments. The conference featured speeches and panel discussions by members of the SEC, PCAOB, FASB, and other professional groups on current accounting, reporting, and auditing practice issues.

This is a preview of the Heads Up. View the complete Heads Up.

Executive Summary

The AICPA Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments provides a forum for key stakeholders involved in the financial reporting process to come together and discuss issues and trends affecting accounting, financial reporting, auditing, and other matters. Attendees at this year’s conference left with a greater appreciation for the critical role stakeholder communication plays in maintaining investor confidence and in the delivery of high-quality financial reporting.

Topics that dominated the conversation at the conference included implementation and application of the FASB’s new standards on revenue recognition, leases, and credit losses; emerging issues, including reference rate reform, digital assets, and cybersecurity; SEC reporting matters; audit quality; auditor independence; and critical audit matters (CAMs). A theme addressed in many sessions was the effect of technology and innovation on auditors, practitioners, and regulators. 

AICPA Vice Chairman and Deloitte & Touche LLP Partner Tracey Golden emphasized the exponential pace of change affecting the accounting industry. She highlighted the need to maintain the profession’s commitment to “providing services with honesty and integrity” and “protecting the public interest.” She also discussed proposed updates to the CPA licensure model that would focus on deepening foundational skill sets while also giving candidates the opportunity to build their knowledge in a specific discipline. The flexibility offered by a more adaptive approach is expected to better equip the “auditor of the future” with the skills necessary to react to emerging technologies and leverage data analytics.

In a keynote session, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton and SEC Chief Accountant Sagar Teotia discussed 2019 accomplishments and 2020 priorities, non-GAAP measures, international matters, and the role of the PCAOB, in addition to many of the topics outlined above. Mr. Clayton highlighted the SEC’s focus on opportunities to modernize the Commission’s approach to accomplishing its mission. 

Mr. Teotia’s remarks generally aligned with his statement issued in connection with the conference. His comments were related to stakeholder engagement, implementation of new GAAP standards, current standard-setting projects, interactions and collaboration with the PCAOB, audit quality, CAMs, international accounting and auditing matters, internal control over financial reporting (ICFR), audit committees, and innovation.

During the PCAOB panel discussion, Chairman William Duhnke III summarized the Board’s five-year plan and key priorities. He noted that in response to feedback from constituents on the need for changes within the PCAOB, the Board has been revisiting its internal operations, increasing outreach to external stakeholders, and looking into ways to innovate its own oversight. 

These and other topics of discussion are summarized throughout this Heads Up. For additional details, see the published speeches from the conference.

View the complete Heads Up.

Volume 26, Issue 26 | December 16, 2019

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Heads Up newsletter is a periodic newsletter that analyzes important accounting developments, such as new FASB and IASB pronouncements or exposure drafts.

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