PCAOB Auditing Standards: PCAOB Proposes New Auditing Standard Regarding Related Party Transactions and Amendments to Existing Standards Regarding Significant Unusual Transactions and Executive Compensation

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - March 28, 2012

The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board is proposing a new auditing standard that relates to the auditor’s evaluation of a company’s relationships and transactions with related parties, and amendments to existing auditing standards that relate to significant unusual transactions and financial relationships and transactions by a company with its executive officers (including incentive compensation arrangements). The new and amended standards are intended to focus auditors’ efforts on areas that may pose an increased risk of material misstatement to a company’s financial statements.

The PCAOB’s proposals largely build upon and enhance existing requirements in these areas, primarily by providing greater specificity around the procedures that must be employed and inquiries that must be made. While the proposals would not directly impact the non-financial-statement disclosure (such as proxy disclosure) relating to related party transactions and executive compensation under SEC rules, companies should anticipate greater auditor focus and additional audit procedures on the financial statement impact of these areas if these proposals are adopted.

Subject to SEC approval, the new and amended standards would be effective for audits of financial statements for fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2012. The deadline for public comment is May 15, 2012.