New Center for Audit Quality Alert on SPACs Outlines Considerations for Auditors and Audit Committees
Monday, May 3, 2021
Washington, DC – The Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) issued an Alert today with some key considerations for auditors and audit committees related to the unique risks and challenges of a private company entering the public markets through a merger with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC).
The CAQ Alert comes on the heels of recent statements from the SEC reminding boards of directors, audit committees, management, and auditors of operating companies involved in a merger with a SPAC to fulfill their professional responsibilities so that companies meet their obligations under the federal securities laws and investors are provided with high quality financial reporting at the time of the merger and on an ongoing basis.
“Audit firms were quick to consult with the SEC staff to address emerging accounting issues as SPAC IPOs accelerated earlier this year,” said Julie Bell Lindsay, Executive Director of the Center for Audit Quality. “Our latest Alert will help auditors and audit committees continue to bring the same quality and rigor to audits of SPACs that they bring to companies that go public through traditional IPOs.”
SPACs – shell companies formed to raise funds for acquisitions of existing operating companies – have recently exploded in popularity for their quick access to the capital markets. In 2019, just 59 SPAC IPOs were completed; that number has increased more than five-fold in just the first few months of 2021 to more than 300. While SPACs can offer certain advantages due to their speed, their use raises complex financial reporting and governance considerations.
In the Alert, the CAQ provides specific factors auditors should consider prior to and during audits of SPACs and/or a private audit client preparing to go public through a SPAC. In addition to considerations for auditors, the CAQ also outlines considerations for audit committees during a SPAC transaction.
As the popularity of SPACs has grown, members of the financial reporting ecosystem should familiarize themselves with these considerations before, during, and after a SPAC merger. Review the Alert, Auditor and Audit Committee Considerations Relating to Special Purposes Acquisition Company (SPAC) Initial Public Offerings and Mergers, here.
About The Center for Audit Quality
The Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) is an autonomous public policy organization dedicated to enhancing investor confidence and public trust in the global capital markets. The CAQ fosters high-quality performance by public company auditors; convenes and collaborates with other stakeholders to advance the discussion of critical issues that require action and intervention; and advocates policies and standards that promote public company auditors’ objectivity, effectiveness, and responsiveness to dynamic market conditions. Based in Washington, DC, the CAQ is affiliated with the American Institute of CPAs. For more information, visit www.thecaq.org.
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