The end of the year is upon us. My original intention was to send a holiday greeting only. However, there was such an exciting announcement this week that I could not help but to send one technical update – one audit standard for the audits of less complex entities?!?! Crazy. It is an exciting time to be in public practice with so many changes on the horizon. Read on…
As previously mentioned, I am a member of the Advisory Group to the AASB on the Audits of Less Complex Entities (LCE). A huge announcement was just that has significant implications on the audits of these types of clients. On December 15, 2020 the IAASB announced the approval of the project to develop a draft of a separate standard for the audits of LCEs. The IAASB is developing the the standard on the following basis:
The Audit and Assurance Standards Board (AASB) is a part of the discussion and has had input into the approach. I can share with you first hand that our review of the existing standards and where “pain points” exist, the discussion of what the new standard might look like, and concepts to follow have been extensive and in-depth. It is so exiting to be a part of Canadian standard setting. The target date for the exposure draft on the new standard is mid-2021. That is incredibly fast in the standard setting world but there is a recognition that this project needs to move forward at an advanced pace. Our Advisory Group will be reviewing the draft exposure draft in January with the objective of providing further insights on the challenges faced by auditors in the audits of these types of entities. I am honored to be a part of the conversation. If you have any strong views on the separate standard and its basis, I would love to hear them and pass them on in our Advisory Group discussions. You can read more here about the details of the proposed project. Two very good short summaries of what is ahead.
The year 2020 has been like no other in so many ways. I read an article earlier this week that spoke to me as it had two important concepts that sum up 2020:
If we keep these these two important concepts top of mind, 2021 should be a breeze, no matter what it holds. I want to take this opportunity to wish you all the best in 2021.
From my family to yours, happy holidays. I hope you have a chance to relax and enjoy some time off and for a moment, just sit in peace. The work will be there tomorrow, so focus on what is important to you. As always, I am here to help you save time and achieve peace of mind.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Less Complex Entities; Technology; Dealing with Clients; COVID-19 Challenges
Slowly businesses are ramping up operations, but it seems that practitioners have been busy all along. Despite the extended deadlines, many challenges have been faced, and solved, over the past few months. Standard setters also continue to be busy with interesting discussions including the potential for a new standard for the audits of less complex entities. This month’s thought leadership covers important topics as we continue all to move forward. Read on…
AASB Decision Summary – New Standard for Audits of LCEs?
Exciting news. At their June meeting, the Audit and Assurance Standards Board (AASB) provided input on the IAASB Audits of Less Complex Entities (LCE) Working Group’s proposal to start developing a separate standard on this topic. Matter discussed included the overarching principles to be used when developing a separate set of standards. The IAASB is clearly headed in the direction of setting a separate standard for the audits of LCEs which will have a significant impact on the profession.
I previously communicated that I am a member of the AASB Working Group on the Audit of Less Complex Entities providing insights and recommending solutions to the challenges faced by SMPs in auditing these types of entities. There is a long way to go but I feel we are headed in the right direction. Do you agree with me? Feel free to reach out with your views directly so I can provide further input to the Working Group and the direction we should head.
The other topic of interest at the AASB meeting included discussions on Quality Management. The IAASB project to revise standard for quality management at the firm and engagement level continue. The IAASB expects to approve the final ISQM 1, ISQM 2 and ISA 220 at its September 2020 meeting. In turn, the AASB expects to approve the Canadian equivalent at its January 2021 meeting. However there are several Canadian issues yet to resolve, the main one being if the new standards apply to compilation engagements or not. Stay tuned.
Innovation in Audit: It is not Just About Technology
Auditors love JELLY. Just Exactly Like Last Year. And to hang out with SALY. Same As Last Year. However these can limit our ability to innovate in an audit. Innovation in an audit is more than just changing technology. It is about thinking differently about challenges faced, and thinking about them before you jump into a solution. While it is important to conduct high quality audits, conducting engagements efficiently is just as important. This article from Accounting Today was a thought-provoking read for ideas in how to innovate the audit. File efficiency reviews are another great way to make changes to your engagement process. I would be happy to assist you in performing such a file review to help you avoid JELLY and SALY.
Small and Mid-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Need Small- to Mid-Sized Practitioners (SMPs)
Businesses are ramping up operations however they continue to make hard decisions about their employees and payroll along with other operating decisions. They need the support of accountants whom they know and trust. With candid and empathetic discussions and a flexible approach, SMPs can enable SMEs with the right tools to bridge the gap between crises mode and action mode. An article in Accounting Today focuses on three guiding principles as practitioners help clients navigate disruption.
Reporting and Fraud Risk Arising from Covid-19 Pose Significant Challenges
In response to the current crisis, many organization have had to quickly change working practices and protocols to enable remote working, which present an increased risk of fraud of internal controls can by bypassed as a result. These changes can create challenges for practitioners in conducting engagements. An article published by IFAC highlights the need for auditors to have increased awareness and the importance of exercising professional skepticism. This is an excellent article and well worth the read.
Tomorrow is July 1 and no fireworks this year but I am okay with that. I would rather move forward at a steady pace then take two steps forward and one step back. So, move forward we do. Please feel free to reach out at anytime with any questions you may have to help you save time and achieve peace of mind. In the meantime, enjoy the upcoming month, it is summer you know.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Less Complex Entities; Firm Risk Management; Understanding Financial Statements.
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
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.
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.
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.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Exposure Drafts (Quality Management & Others); Other Information (CAS 720); auditing Less Complex Entities
April 30. Another tax season is officially passed. Knowing how busy this month can be, I wanted to keep this update light. There has been a lot recent activity by the standard setters therefore this month’s updates includes topics I will cover in more detail in the coming months as matters become more relevant but they are important enough to bring to your attention today. Read on…
Exposure Drafts on Quality Management
An exposure draft Canadian Standards for Quality Management (CSQM 1) was issued April 5, 2019. CSQM 1, along with the new Engagement Quality Reviews (CSQM 2), will replace the existing CSQC 1. Why do you care? While there are many changes in the exposure draft which I will provide details on in the next update, the biggest change is CSQM 1 will apply to all assurance and related services including compilation engagements and agreed-upon procedures engagements. CSQC 1 never applied to these types of engagements as CSQM 1 will now. CPA Canada issued an Audit and Assurance Alert further detailing these exposure drafts and the reasons for the changes.
Other Exposure Drafts
The Audit and Assurance Board is still deliberating feedback on comments received on the Exposure Drafts for Compilation Engagements (CSRS 4200), Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization (CSAE 3416) and Identifying and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement (CAS 315). Exposure Drafts for Group Audits and Agreed-Upon Procedures Engagements are being drafted. Why do you care? It is important to keep up-to-date on standards. I will provide updates and the impact as these Exposure Drafts are released, re-exposed or become effective the Handbook.
Other Information (CAS 720)
As you turn your attention back to your audit engagements, it is a good time to remind yourself of the new reporting requirements related to Other Information (CAS 720). This topic is getting a lot of attention as it is not always clear what constitutes “other information”. CPA Canada issued further guidance on other information considerations as it is not always just a formal, glossy annual report put out by the organization. Why do you care? It is a subjective area which requires discussions with management and Those Charged with Governance.
Audits of Less Complex Entities (LCE)
The audit of Less Complex Entities has been a topic for discussion for both the IAASB and Canada’s AASB over the past several years; we are finally seeing results from those discussions. This past November, I participated in an outreach session hosted by the AASB to discuss the barriers to effective and efficient audits of less complex entities. I have heard many comments of the challenges faced by small to mid-sized practitioners and was able to pass these on to the AASB directly. The results of this session will be released in a Discussion Paper shortly.
In the meantime, the IAASB has released their Discussion Paper exploring how the IAASB and others could further support auditors working in increasingly evolving environments. The IAASB is asking for feedback on their paper and I plan to respond by the deadline of September 12, 2019. Why do you care? This is an important topic for practitioners who audit smaller (or less complex) clients and more efficient and effective engagements may be the final result of these discussions. It will be interesting to see what comes next.
Lots to think about in the coming months but for now, take a breathe. Rest assured there is time to deal with all of these matters in the coming months and I am here to assist you as needed. In the meantime, enjoy the upcoming weekend.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA