What are the trends in PCAOB inspections and the reported audit deficiencies?

Ashna L. Prasad, John C. Webster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Although the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) inspections commenced in 2003, few studies have analyzed the recurring nature of audit deficiencies both within and across U.S. and non-U.S. firms. This study investigates longitudinal trends in PCAOB Part I audit deficiencies and compares these deficiencies between initial and subsequent inspections. We classify the audit deficiencies contained in the inspection reports into three categories relating to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS), and Internal Controls over Financial Reporting (ICFR). Using 1,551 inspections conducted over the period 2003–2017, we find that 67% of Part I audit deficiencies in the related reports pertain to GAAP and that triennially inspected audit firms have the highest occurrence of these deficiencies. On average, 22% of audit deficiencies relate to GAAS, with the highest incidence of these deficiencies attributable to annually inspected audit firms. Although ICFR has the least audit deficiencies (11%), we find a significant increase from 2009. We find no significant differences in the mean number of GAAP, GAAS, and ICFR audit deficiencies between first- and second-round inspections. However, we find a significant increase in the mean number of ICFR audit deficiencies between the third- to fifth-round inspections. The audit areas of “revenue recognition,”“inventory,” and “fair value measurements” (i.e., those requiring significant auditor judgment) are the most frequent audit deficiencies identified by the PCAOB. This study provides insights into the frequency and nature of audit deficiencies to stakeholders such as investors, auditors, audit committees, and users of financial statements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-546
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Accounting, Auditing and Finance
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • ICFR
  • inspection reports
  • recurring audit deficiencies

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