PCAOB Fines WithumSmith+Brown $2M for SPAC Audit Violations

Princeton, N.J.-based IPA 100 firm WithumSmith+Brown (FY23 net revenue of $519.8 million) faces a $2 million fine from the PCAOB for violating quality control standards in its special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) audits.

The PCAOB found staffing issues and failures to meet professional standards in the firm’s SPAC audit practice from January 2020 to December 2021. In 2021, for example, the firm’s issuer audit practice increased almost 500%, yet the number of partners assigned to these audits increased by only 50%. WithumSmith+Brown, without admitting or denying the findings, agreed to the fine and must engage an independent consultant to review its procedures and conduct staff training.

Robert E. Rice, PCAOB’s enforcement director, stressed the importance of firms having the necessary expertise for their audits.


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