Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

Accounting Research Guide

This guide features access to U.S. and International accounting standards.

Auditing Standards

Auditing standards are guidelines applied by auditors in deciding whether financial statements have been prepared according to GAAP.

I. Auditing Standards Board, AICPA

Beginning in 1917, a committee of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, a professional organization of certified public accountants, was responsible for establishing auditing standards. The committee's name changed several times over the years. In 1978 it became the Auditing Standards Board. It issues the following types of pronouncements, among others:

II. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board ("PCAOB")

In response to the Enron accounting scandal, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, Pub. L. 107-204, 116 Stat. 745 (2002) created the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) and gave it authority to establish auditing standards for public companies registered with the SEC. The 5 members of the PCAOB's Governing Board are appointed by the SEC and serve 5-year terms; no person may serve more than two terms. Two members must be or have been Certified Public Accountants ("CPAs") for at least 5 years prior to appointment. The other 3 members must not be or have been CPAs. PCAOB officially assumed its standards-making responsibility in 2003, but adopted AICPA auditing standards existing as of April 16, 2003 as interim auditing standards. PCAOB standards adopted after April 16, 2003 may supersede or amend AICPA auditing standards for audits of public companies.

Where to find PCAOB standards: