September 2019 Update

September 30, 2019 / Monthly Newsletter

In this Update:  Standards Update; Public Sector Disclosures; Credit Controls & Fee Collections; Enhancing Culture


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

January 2019 Update

January 31, 2019 / Monthly Newsletter

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.

Best Regards,
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA