In this Update: Auditor Reporting Guide; Enhancing Documentation; New Review Engagement Standards; Technology
February is a month where work ramps up as we get busier and busier with clients. At times, it may seem easier to let things slide in order to just get things done and out the door but that approach has its cost in the end. This month topics will help you to ensure that you are meeting standards in an efficient and effective way. The links below provide you a number of resources to help you along the way, including how you may want to consider using technology in your practice. Read on…
Auditor Reporting Guide: Reporting Implications of Canadian Auditing Standards
Have you issued your first auditor’s report under the new standards yet? From a few I have talked to, it is not quite as straightforward as before and takes some time to get it right. CPA Canada has issued the 3rd edition of the Auditor Reporting Guide. This is a very good tool which provides guidance with respect to commonly occurring reporting circumstances. There are many illustrative reports for such things as going concern, qualifications to the opinion, emphasis and other matter paragraphs. I would be happy to consult with you if needed to ensure you get it right.
Documentation is critical in all assurance engagements. The mantra “if not documented, not done” comes up over and over again. There are simple things to keep in mind as you work through your assurance engagements files over the next few months. This short two-minute video from the Global Head of Audit Quality at Grant Thornton provides recommendations on strengthening audit quality. You may want to share this video with you staff.
Observations Regarding the New Review Engagement Standard
CSRE 2400 has been in place for a year and practitioners are now entering their second season performing engagements in accordance with the standard. CPA Canada worked with a task force of practitioners to build resources to support the effective application of the standard. In addition, they gathered observations from practice inspectors from across the country and provide reminders for practitioners in applying the standard.
Technically, Your Practice Could be Better
These days it seems that technology is top of mind whether in your personal life or in business. As practitioners it is important to keep up as the world changes. Knowing which technologies are best for your practice can be complicated, but ignoring the value technology can add to your practice carriers a heavy price in lost efficiency and opportunity. An article from AICPA addresses these issues from a financial planning practice but many of the fundamental ideas apply to practitioners.
Before sending out this monthly update, I did a quick check on the status of a number of exposure drafts including the Compilation Standard (CSRS 4200) and Assessing Risk (CAS 315). Right now the Standards Boards are deliberating feedback received so no updates as of yet. I will continue to keep you abreast of changes as they become known. In the meantime, if you have any questions on existing standards or need support, please feel free to give me a call at anytime. I am here to provide you peace of mind and save you time.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Managing Fee Pressures; Better Client Meetings; Learning Mindfulness
The start of a new year brings many things to think about. I am excited to head into 2019 and have spent the last month thinking about what I hope to accomplish over the upcoming year. With the ever changing standards, working with clients, dealing with staff, there is never a shortage of things to think about. The last few updates have been very focused on standards and while I plan to keep you updated over the coming months as things evolve, this month I thought I would pass on a few tips about managing client relationships, including fee discussions – topics that are always top of mind for those in public practice. Read on…
Three Ways to Effectively Manage Fee Pressure
As you head into busy season, the focus can sometimes be “just get the work done” but it is important to not to lose sight of fee discussions with your clients – earlier rather than later. Pressure to lower fees has consistently appeared as one of the top challenges facing small to mid-sized practices (SMPs). Members of the IFAC SMP Committee discussed fee pressures with practitioners from around the world who in turn shared their experiences, tips and best practices.
Communicating Value and Quality with Price
Another good article on addressing fee pressures. Clients often seek a better price, even when they are deeply interested in the services offered. This presents a great dilemma on which the Chairman of IFAC SMP Committee addresses. Key tips are provided to use when setting fee levels and engaging in price discussions with clients.
Five Tips for Better Client Meetings
With the ever-changing standards (including the new auditor’s report) and the requirement to have in-depth discussions with your clients, it is important that you hold meetings to provide value and gain information and not just hold a meeting for the sake of meeting. Boomer Consulting has five tips for holding better client meetings and ensuring these meetings are operating at an optimal level. They state: “You want to make sure that your team and your client understand what the purpose of each meeting is and ensure that everyone is on the same page before and after the meeting takes place”.
Why Accountants Need to Learn Mindfulness
With the upcoming busy season, it is easy to get caught up in doing the work and letting other things slip away. I enjoyed reading this article highlighting the ability of mindfulness is essential for time management, productivity and the development of the soft skills needed to succeed. The AICPA CPA Insider reminds us that as accountants we learn technology and technical skills but do not necessarily take the same amount of time improving how we communicate, how we collaborate and how we deliver our services. To grow as an advisor, we need to dedicate as much time to soft skills as we do to technical skills.
A few final short snappers. Today is the reporting deadline for CPD requirements. Don’t forget to submit your hours. As well, as you head into the next few months, remember to issue the correct auditor’s report – and ensure the wording is correct if it is the new report you are issuing. And finally, anytime you encounter an assurance or accounting issue, remember I am here to assist you as needed. But most importantly, try and stay warm!! The weather has to break soon.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA