Public company audits and interim reports are likely to be reviewed by two audit firm partners, rather than one, in corporate fiscal years ending after Dec. 15, 2009. That's when the proposed Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) rule on auditing standards and engagement quality review is set to go into effect.

"The board felt the need to strengthen the requirement for concurrent audit reviews," says Dima Andriyenko, associate chief auditor at the PCAOB, who played a key role in developing the new release. The board said last year that it wanted "to focus reviewers on the need to perform a robust review, rather than on whether particular matters had 'come to [their] attention.'"

For the Big Four accounting firms, the change will not alter procedures that much. These firms are already mandated to have all audits reviewed by a partner not involved in the actual audit process. Andriyenko notes that many smaller audit firms have also been following this practice.

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