November 2019 Update

December 4, 2019 / Monthly Newsletter

Greetings,

We are headed into the last month of the year and there are a number of things to think about to get ready for the new year. The more prepared we are, the smoother the work flow which allows us to concentrate on our clients which is always the priority. New accounting standards, upcoming changes in assurance standards and general quality matters all make preparation even more important. The topics below will help you be prepared for the coming months. Read on…

Retractable or Mandatorily Redeemable Shares Issued in a Tax Planning Arrangement

These amendments have been around for awhile but are finally in effect for the upcoming year. Amendments to Section 3856 Financial Instruments provide new conditions in order for retractable or mandatorily redeemable shares issued in a tax planning arrangement to be classified as equity as well as some changes to measurement, presentation and disclosure requirements. The amendments are effective for fiscal years beginning on or after January 1, 2020, that is the upcoming year. Not only do you have to think about new shares issued, there are several transition issues that you will have to address in financial statements. Make sure you spend the time to understand the amendments. The resource tool on this topic from CPA Canada along with the handbook section itself, will help you do that.

READ BRIEFING HERE

ASPE Resource Summary

Speaking of resource tools, CPA Canada publishes many resources and tools on a variety of topics throughout the year, all with the objective to assist practitioners. A recent publication is a summary of all ASPE guidance issued over the past year. It is a great publication to have on hand when you are dealing with specific issues. Topics include financial reporting alerts and ASPE briefings that provide implementation guidance on new and/or amendments to ASPE standards. In the document, there are hot links to the relevant resource so very easy to access. It also includes links to free webinars and other ASPE resources. Keep this publication on hand and access when needed.

READ ASPE RESOURCE GUIDANCE TOOL HERE

Focus on Practice Inspection Report

The provincial bodies are the governing bodies of our self-regulating profession; they promote the highest standards of integrity and expertise to their members. Practice Inspections are a key component of the overall regulatory process. CPA Manitoba’s annual report, Focus on Practice Inspections was released this past October and is very similar to the reports issued in other provinces. The report provides a summary of findings in each of the areas of financial statement presentation, audit engagements, review engagements, special reports and quality control. Detailed common deficiencies are included in Appendix 3. The report also includes other matters for consideration in Appendices 1 and 2. The report is worth the read as it highlights key things to think about in the upcoming year. You may even want share this report with staff so they understand common deficiencies and are then able to address these in your client files. If you need to get ready for an upcoming practice inspection or implement an action plan in response to one, reach out for assistance. I can help you through the process.

READ REPORT HERE

How to Price Client Engagements and Increase Firm Profits

With all the upcoming changes, it can be a challenge on how to price engagements. Fees are important and discussions on such are not always easy but we cannot lose sight of the fact that while assisting our clients is of upmost priority, we should be paid fairly for the work that we do. A fantastic article from IFAC covers approaches to fee increases and value pricing.  Included in the article strategies for increasing fees and provides food for thought on value pricing.

READ ARTICLE HERE


As we move into the last month of the year, please feel to reach out at any time to help you be prepared for the upcoming year. As one other year-end reminder, check on your CPD hours as December 31, is coming quicker than we think. Reporting deadlines are January 31, 2020. I am delivering in-house PD courses to several firms over the next few weeks but have some availability left in my schedule before the end of the year if needed. Over the coming months I will continue to keep you updated on new standards, including the recently approved CSRS 4200, as more details become known.  There are so much to think about but I am always here to help provide you peace of mind and save you time.  

Best Regards,
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA,FCA
President


October 2019 Update

October 31, 2019 / Monthly Newsletter

Greetings,

What a crazy month it has been.  The snowstorm that took down so many trees in Winnipeg and beyond, the NHL Heritage Classic game between the Jets and the Flames and the further changes in standards.  After many months of what seemed like silence, it has been very busy for the standard setters.  This month’s update is a bit more technical in nature as a result of these changes.  I want to ensure you stay up to date.  Read on…

CSRS 4200 Compilation Engagements – Standard Approved!!

As noted in my special update earlier this month, the AASB approved Canadian Standard on Related Services (CSRS) 4200, Compilation Engagements on October 7, 2019.  CSRS 4200 replaces Section 9200 and is effective for compiled financial information for period ending on or after December 14, 2021.  The AASB concluded that the revision to the standard were significantly different from the proposals in the Exposure Draft however they decided not to re-expose the changes as they do not significantly increase the practitioners’ work effort and responsibility.  However, we have not yet seen the actual standard.  It is expected CSRS 4200 will be issue in the February 2020 CPA Canada Handbook Assurance Update.  I will send a link when available. In the meantime, you may want to participate in the CPA Canada Practitioner’s Pulse Webinar on November 21, 2019 that will discuss the new standard.

ACCESS AASB PROJECT PAGE HERE

SIGN UP FOR CPA PRACTITIONERS PULSE WEBINAR HERE

CAS 315 (Revised)

On September 16, 2019 the IAASB approved the revisions to ISA 315 (Revised) along with conforming changes.  The revised ISA will be effective for audits of financial statement for periods beginning on or after December 15, 2021.  What this means is that Canada will not be far behind in approving the revisions to CAS 315 (Revised) Identifying and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement though Understanding of the Entity and its Environment. The changes are significant and will impact your audit approach and documentation.  I expect there will be implementation tools and guidance to come – I will send out links as they are available.  In the meantime, if you want to read ISA 315 (Revised), follow the link below.

READ ISA 315 (REVISED) HERE

Redeemable Preferred Shares Issued in a Tax Planning Arrangement

I have spent a lot of time raising awareness of assurance standards but do not want to forget about important accounting standards.  With that in mind, I wanted to remind you about amendments to Section 3856 Financial Instruments specifically related to preferred Shares issued in a tax planning arrangement.  These changes were approved in back in September 2018; the updates are expected to be in the December 2019 release of the Handbook updates.   In the meantime, here are a number of podcasts recently released to discuss implementation questions. 

ACCESS PODCASTS HERE

Ethical Dilemmas

Ethics continues to be a very hot topic these days with the new CPA PD requirements and the recently released International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants.  I have delivered my Putting Ethics into Practice course to firms and the resulting discussions have been very interesting.  In developing the course material, I came across this article which may be of interest to you.  Dealing with Ethical Dilemmas with Confidence reminds us that professional ethics is fundamental in our industry.  The article points out that the reality of making the right call is often not straightforward and provides a framework for moral prudence.

READ ARTICLE HERE


There is a lot to think about in the upcoming months and I am here to save you time and provide peace of mind on all the upcoming matters as well as day to day other matters.  I will be at the Rev Up Your Practice conference in Ottawa this upcoming week and maybe will see you there.  In the meantime, enjoy your week and let’s hope the snow holds off just a bit more.

Best Regards,
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
President


Special Update – CSRS 4200

October 10, 2019 / Special Update

A quick mid-month update. It is official. There is a new compilation standard. The AASB approved CSRS 4200 at their meetings held this week.

This news is so recent that I do not have the new standard or details on what was actually approved yesterday. All that I know from my contacts at CPA Canada and the AASB is that the standard has been approved and there are changes from what was in the Exposure Draft. What the changes are, I don’t know; only those who approved the new standard do know at this point.

The new CSRS is expected be in the Handbook in February but the effective date is not yet known. I expect there to be a lot of communication in the coming months so will disseminate and pass onto you in my monthly updates; I will also be building the changes into the courses that I instruct for many of you and your firms.

So all this to say… stay tuned. Changes are confirmed and coming but what they are still to be seen. So, in the meantime, happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Best Regards,
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
President


September 2019 Update

September 30, 2019 / Monthly Newsletter

Greetings,

This month marked a change in both weather and standards. One can feel a bit of a nip in the air and things are finally starting to move on the standards front. Decisions have been made over this past month, and we can expect a few more next month. While most changes are not imminent, they will come quicker than we think and it will be important to plan so you can keep your practice running effectively and efficiently. Read on…

Standards Update – AASB Decisions

As noted above, decisions were made on standards over the past month. Exposure drafts were finalized, timing was discussed and next steps are under way. The following are highlights from the AASB’s (the Board) September meeting:

  • On September 20, 2019 the IAASB approved the final draft of ISA 315 (Revised) Identifying and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement. The AASB provided input on the draft before it was released and has stated Canada will follow suit very shortly. Expect to see further updates in next month’s newsletter.
  • The Board discussed key issues related to the project to revise compilation standards, CSRS 4200 Compilation Standard. They expect to approve the final standard at their October 2019 meeting. Key topics discussed included the description of the basis of accounting, subsequent discovery of facts, amendments to the glossary and the effective date. Stay tuned for further updates on this one too.
  • The AASB provided input to the IAASB on feedback from the Exposure Drafts for quality management at the firm and engagement level. This topic is still under discussion and will appear again on their October agenda. This Exposure Draft will have a significant impact on a firm’s system of quality management, including policies and procedures documented in their QAM and engagements impacted.
  • The Board unanimously approved amendments to CAS 700 Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements. This change only impacts auditors of listed entities; these auditors will be required to communicate Key Audit Matters for periods ending on or after December 15, 2022.

READ THE AASB’S SEPTEMBER SUMMARY OF DISCUSSIONS HERE

Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Amendment Act

A reminder to those who issue these reports. A notice went out mid-year to all publicly-funded bodies reminding these organizations that the threshold for salary disclosures increased from $50,000 to $75,000 effective January 1, 2019. In addition, the notice stated that the publicly-funded bodies are no longer required to have the compensation reports audited. One matter of interest, while the notice says the audit is no longer required, the Act still has this requirement (I am trying to follow up on this discrepancy). Make sure you talk to your clients about the new requirements and the timing of implementation.

NO LINK AS THE LETTER WENT DIRECTLY TO ORGANIZATIONS, NOT THE FIRMS – ASK FOR IT FROM YOUR CLIENTS

Enhancing Firm Credit Control and Fee Collection

  • This is the third (the second was in last month’s update) of a three-part series from IFAC addressing challenges small- to mid-sized practitioners (SMPs) face in dealing with increased fee pressures. This article covers credit controls, collection techniques and dealing with conflict. There are very good tips in this article which is very worth the quick read.

READ ARTICLE HERE

Enhancing Culture

  • Building strong relationships with your clients and motivating your staff starts with the attitude within your firm. Creating a strong culture is important, especially as you prepare for the many changes to come. An interesting article by Jean-Guy Talbot of ReveNew outlines crucial things to think about as you strengthen or improve your firm’s culture. You also may want to check out details of his upcoming conference in Ottawa this November. Rev Up Your Practice is a unique event which will cover this and many other important topics related to practice management. A conference like no other.

READ ARTICLE AND CONFERENCE DETAILS HERE


I have a sense it is going to be a very busy fall. Changes in standards, fee discussions with clients, updates to quality, meeting professional development requirements – the list goes on. If you are interested in a professional development course tailored to specifically to your firm, let me know. I have a course curriculum that covers everything from standards update, performing efficient and effective engagements and ethics. My fall schedule is starting to feel up so please reach out. I am here as needed to help you save time and provide peace of mind.

Best Regards,
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
President


August 2019 Update

August 31, 2019 / Monthly Newsletter

Greetings,

The end of August is upon us and it has been a busy month. Summer is winding down (even though I don’t want to admit it) and minds are turning to fall and the planning that it brings.  This month’s topics include matters that will help you get ready as you continue to think about upcoming standards changes, new PEG forms, quality management and discussing fees with your clients.  Read on…

Standards Updates

No significant news to report but wanted to provide an update so you stay informed; changes are coming, that is a known!  Exposure drafts being deliberated as response deadlines have passed.  The key topics that will impact your practice include Quality Management (CSQM1 and CSQM 2), Identifying and Assessing Risks of Material Misstatements (CAS 315 Revised) and Compilation Engagements (CSRS 4200).  A summary of the status of these is:

  • CSQM1/2 – The AASB agreed to perform further consultations with stakeholders on the proposed scope of Canadian Standard on Quality Management (CSQM) 1, Quality Management for Firms that Perform Audits or Reviews of Financial Statements, or Other Assurance or Related Services Engagements, in the fall of 2019.  Standards expected in 2020.  READ QM UPDATE HERE
  • CAS 315 (Revised) – The AASB provided input to the IAASB on issues that are relevant to Canada.  The Board will continue to discuss this project at future meetings.  There is no proposed timeline on when the final pronouncement is expected but anecdotal evidence suggests early 2020.  READ CAS 315 UPDATE HERE
  • CSRS 4200 – The AASB is deliberating feedback received on the Exposure Draft.  The new standard is being developed and is expected to be approved by the end of 2019 and effective for years ending on or after December 15, 2020.  READ CSRS 4200 UPDATE HERE

Other assurance exposure drafts still being deliberated include Key Audit Matters, for public companies, along with Public Sector Auditing Standards and Reporting Controls at a Service Organization.  Responses to the Discussion Paper of Less Complex Entities were due this month and are now being deliberated.  Finally, accounting exposure drafts on Agriculture and Revenue are still out there. 

PEG Updates

This month the 2019 Edition of the Professional Engagement Guide (PEG) was released.  I have spent time understanding the changes and would be happy to discuss them further with you to determine what is most efficient and effective to implement in your practice.  Key changes include:

  • A new chapter on data analytics in Volume 1.  New chapters in both Volumes 1 and 2 have been added to provide guidance on assurance engagements to comply with specific requirements.  These engagement are effective for reports dated on or April 1, 2019.  This guidance covers either attestation or direct compliance engagements where either reasonable or limited assurance is being provided in a written report.
  • Sample assurance reports (finally!).
  • Some minor and a few major changes to the PEG audit forms, customized review forms for NPOs and new forms related to compliance reporting. 
  • In addition, an alternative set of review engagement forms has been developed.  The idea is to use either all of the new forms, or all of the existing forms.  It is not appropriate to mix and match sets. 

ACCESS PEG ON KNOTIA HERE (WILL HAVE TO LOG IN)

Ten Steps to Successful Firm Risk Management

Since quality management is top of mind with the CSQM1 and CSQM 2 Exposure Drafts, I thought you may be interested in an article to help you address quality matters in your firm.  This is the second article of a risk management series and covers 10 steps for successful risk management. The first article is 8 steps to Establishing a Firm Risk Management program (link within).   These articles are a result of discussions at recent IFAC SMP Committee meetings, the committee that is focused on practice management for small- and medium-size practices (SMPs).

READ ARTICLE HERE

How to Price Client Engagements and Increase Firm Profits

With all the changes coming, another topic that is top of mind is how to price engagements and discussing fee increases with your clients.  The attached link is the second of a three-part series addressing this critical area; it covers approaches to fee increases and value pricing.  The first in the series, the Importance of client Selection and Relationship Management (link within), features client classification and the importance of engagement letters and the third instalment will highlight credit control, collection techniques and dealing with conflict.

READ ARTICLE HERE


Lots to think about in the upcoming months but I am here to assist as needed to save you time and provide peace of mind.  But first, enjoy the long weekend. Work will always be there, it is more important to spend time with your family and friends.  I know I will this weekend. 

Best Regards,
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
President


July 2019 Update

July 31, 2019 / Monthly Newsletter

Greetings,

We are in the middle of summer and many of you are taking the opportunity to take some well-deserved time off.  With that in mind, this month’s update is “summer-lite”.  Only a few topics to reflect upon during this slower time of the year.  Read on…

Less Complex Entities Discussion Paper

As mentioned in a previous update, the IAASB issued a discussion paper “Audits of Less Complex Entities:  Exploring Possible Options to Address the Challenges in Applying the ISAs”.  The discussion paper focuses on challenges that have been identified relating to applying the ISAs in the audits of less complex entities and possible actions that could be undertaken to address the identified challenges.  Options include scalability of the current standards or even a new set of auditing standards.  Because the AASB has committed to adopting the ISAs as CASs, Canadian standard setters are actively involved in this matter.  

This is an important topic which may have a significant impact on the audits of small clients.  Over the past few months I have participated in webinars, round table discussions and conference calls to provide input.  I am preparing a formal response which will incorporate thoughts I have heard from many of you.  Auditing small clients efficiently can be a challenge and there are many CASs that just do not make sense.

The IAASB is gathering as much input as they can and has issued a brief survey to obtain information directly from those practitioners who audit less complex entities.  The survey has only 6 primary questions and 3 demographic questions so takes less than 5 minutes to complete. You don’t even have to read the discussion paper before taking the survey but I have included the link just in case you want to.      

READ IAASB DISCUSSION PAPER HERE  

TAKE SURVEY HERE

Eight Steps to Establish a Firm Risk Management Program

Summer is a good time to think about monitoring, file inspections and updating your quality assurance manual. However risk management is more than just these things; it is important to establish a risk management “culture” in the firm.   This becomes even more critical with the recently issued exposure draft Canadian Standards on Quality Management (see June update). IFAC published a thought-provoking article on this topic highlighting steps to establishing a risk management program along with the benefits it provides.

READ ARTICLE HERE

Understanding Reports on Financial Statements

As a practitioner you understand the differences between an audit, a review and a compilation.  However there are many of your clients who may not clearly understand those differences, especially not-for-profit clients with volunteer Board members.  CPA Canada issued a good publication to help clients learn about financial statements and the different levels of engagements you can provide.  The publication succinctly outlines the concept of applicable financial reporting frameworks, explains the terms assurance and materiality and highlights differences between audits, reviews and compilations.  This would be a good tool to provide to new Board members and other clients.  One caution, the exposure draft on Compilation Engagements (see June update) most likely will change the Compilation Report in the near future.

ACCESS REPORT HERE


In the above topics, I alluded to two important exposure drafts – Canadian Standard on Quality Management and Compilation Engagements.  When issued these will have a big impact on your practice however for now, there are no updates but rest assured I will provide information as it is available.  For now, enjoy the rest of summer and take advantage of the opportunity to catch up on matters.  Whether it is monitoring, file efficiency reviews, file inspection or general consultation, I am here to assist as needed.

Best Regards,
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
President