In this Update: Dealing with Clients, COVID-19 Support; Standards Update; Reminder
Life continues to change. With the announcements of the province opening, we will slowly move into a “new normal”. I recently read that phrase is in competition for being the highest used phrase of the year – right up there with “flattening the curve”. It will be interesting to watch in the coming months what the new normal entails and how we adapt. Working remotely, social distancing, conducting client meetings, delivering training will all evolve as we settle in. In the meantime, the focus is, and always will be, the client and how we work with them in completing engagements and providing support. This month’s update includes information on things to think about as we move into our new normal. Read on…
5 Steps for Advising Clients
There is so much information to weed through these days, emergency funding options, new working environments, government guidelines, the list goes on. After dealing with the immediacy of your own operations, supporting clients is most likely one of your top priorities. An article from the Journal of Accountancy explores five strategies to navigate advisory, and sometimes difficult, conversations with your clients to help them cope. If there is ever a time when clients needed your guidance, expertise and care, it is now. The strategies are straightforward and may give you useful ideas to help manage through this time.
Areas of Focus Due to COVID-19
Global developments relating to the current situation have impacted the work of auditors. Uncertainty and unpredictability may create risks of material misstatement that are new or heightened. Auditors have to adjust how they obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence on which to base the audit opinion amid the many challenges they are facing. IFAC has published an Alert that highlights many of the items that auditors need to focus on in a clear and concise manner. The publication refers to ISAs but Canadian auditing standards (CAS) are substantially the same so this is particularly good tool to help you assess risk and document your conclusions.
COVID-19 and Going Concern Impacts
Even though business may now be able to open, COVID-19 related event may cause a deterioration in an entity’s operating results and financial position, affecting its ability to continue as a going concern. An article from CPA Canada provides guidance on learning how to address the challenges that arise from these conditions. Whether the engagement is an audit or a review the issues are the same and must be considered.
Coping with Standards Changes
There have been some delays in the effective date for some US GAAP and IFRS standards. However, for all my research, I have seen no discussion on delays for any Canadian standards. That means throughout all this we still must be cognizant of upcoming new standards. Nothing is imminent but throughout this time we cannot forget about the future. It is a challenge to keep up. The Journal of Accountancy has tips on how to “stay the course” and deliver high quality engagements.
CPA Canada’s COVID-19 information page CPA CANADA COVID RESOURCE PAGE is a good resource for guidance on financial reporting and other issues. FRAS Canada also has an information page FRAS CANADA COVID RESOURCE PAGE although this one is a little more IFRS focussed.
I promise there will come a day when we are not talking about the pandemic and flattening the curve (although in my case, I am eating so much baking I feel like I am “fattening the curve”). In the meantime, whatever challenges you face, remember that I am here as a resource as needed. Feel free to reach out at any time. Take care and stay healthy.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
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:
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
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.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Summary of Upcoming Changes; Support for SMP; Common Technology Mistakes
For many, the focus for the month of June has been completing year end engagements and getting tax returns out the door. Now time to take a breathe and think forward to the next few months; as there are many upcoming changes that will have an impact on your practice, this month’s update focuses on a summary of those changes and resources to support you getting ready for them. Read on…
Summary of upcoming changes
Below are some of the current projects the standard setters are addressing. This is not a comprehensive list but rather the key ones that I think are important to small and mid-sized firms. Within each section I have provided the link to the Financial Reporting and Assurance Standards Canada (FRAS) site which includes further details and a listing of all active and completed projects.
|Standard||Status and Impact|
|CAS 315: Identifying and Assessing Risks of Material Misstatements||Exposure draft issued September 2018 and feedback being considered. Impact: Significant changes to audit approach and documentation.|
|CAS 540: Auditing Accounting Estimates||Final Handbook material issued and standards in effect for periods on or after December 15, 2019. Impact: Minimal impact unless complicated estimates in your clients financial statements.|
|CAS 700 et al: Auditor Reporting||Final Handbook material issued and standards in effect for periods on or after December 15, 2018. Impact: Now issue new auditor’s report.|
|Audits of Less Complex Entities||Discussion paper issued June 2019; response deadline August 14, 2019. Impact: Not sure on this but goal is scalability for small audits so that not as onerous as is today.|
|Quality Management||Exposure draft issued April 2019 and feedback being considered. Impact: New QAM required to address changes and compilations could now be covered by these standards.|
|CSRS 4200: Compilation Engagements||Exposure draft issued September 2018 and feedback being considered. Impact: Significant changes including documentation, accounting framework and report.|
|Public Sector Auditing Standards||Exposure draft for guidance on performance audits currently being developed. Impact: Significant changes but only if you do compliance reporting.|
|CSAE 3000/3001 et al: Assurance on Compliance with Agreements, Statutes and Regulations||Final Handbook material issued and standards in effect for periods on or after April 1, 2019. Impact: New auditor’s reports for special engagements such as compliance, public sector compensation and other government required reporting.|
|Agriculture||Exposure draft issued July 2018 and feedback being considered. Impact: Significant changes for farming clients.|
|Contributions – Revenue Recognition and Related Matters||Public outreach since January 2016 and is continuing. Impact: Not sure since a long way away from being finalized.|
I am happy to discuss any of the changes above further with you if you have additional questions.
Resource Roundup: Implementation Support for Small- and Mid-Sized Practices
Keeping up to date with standards poses unique challenges for small- to mid-sized practices (SMPs), especially as the changes are coming fast and furious (see topic above). Canadian Standards are basically now driven by what is happening with International Standards. I am here to help keep up to date on standards and will provide you updates as the changes are announced. The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) is another great sources of information and tools. To support SMPs, IFAC has developed extensive implementation support for international standards and offers an extensive suite of material. The link below is to a nice summary of available information.
12 Common Technology Mistakes You Should Avoid
Not only can it be difficult keeping up with standards, keeping up with technology creates its own challenges. A recent article in the Journal of Accountancy addressed several questions such as could your company survive a data breach or could your company withstand a server crash? The author identified 12 common technology mistakes and offers recommendations for avoiding them. I found the article very interesting and more importantly, very practical.
I hope you had a nice long weekend and were able to take advantage of the beautiful weather we had. While the summer months typically slow down, it is also a good time to ensure you are prepared for the next few months. This is a good time to undertake such activities such as planning, completing file reviews and monitoring. I have recently joined the CPA Canada PEG Task Force Committee. Over the past few years I have had conversations with many of you about the PEG and now have the opportunity to bring those views forward. Stay tuned in for future updates. I am here to support you as needed, feel free to contact me at any time.
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
In this Update: CRA Tax HelpLine; Compliance Reporting Standards; CPA Manitoba’s Practitioner Forum; Standards Updates
The March update is being sent this first day of April, but I promise, no April Fool’s jokes within, only a few focused topics this month. For most, April is a time for heads down to work as it is a very busy month. A few critical items to be aware are included below. Read on…
Dedicated Telephone Service – CRA Tax Help for Income Tax Service Providers
CRA is continuing their Dedicated Telephone Service (DTS) for the 2018 filing season. The DTS was a three-year pilot project started last year which offers free technical help for small or medium income tax service providers. There is a very simple registration process after which you receive a telephone number and a personal telephone access code to connect with DTS. The definition of a small to medium sized firm has expanded from the prior year. This is a good service that may help you save time.
New Compliance Reporting Standards Effective Today
In addition to an audit or review report, you may be requested to report on compliance with lease agreements, funding or debt agreements or other agreements. The new standards CSAE 3530 Attestation Engagement to Report on Compliance and CSAE 3531 Direct Engagement to Report on Compliance are effective for compliance reports dated on or after April 1, 2019. CPA Canada issued an Audit and Assurance Alert about the new requirements including understanding the difference between the two types of engagements. The report has changed so it is important to ensure you have the right processes in place to ensure the right report goes out the door.
CPA Manitoba Practitioner’s Forum
CPA Manitoba’s Practitioner Forum on May 15 (5 pm-7pm) will be facilitated by none other than yours truly. This round table event series brings together CPAs in public practice to learn and discuss relevant topics. This month’s topic is related to HR. I will be leading a discussion on attracting, retaining, developing and motivating staff. The results of a provincial salary survey will also be presented to better help you understand the competitive market. Please join me if you can.
Other Standards Updates
In researching topics for this month’s update, I perused the Financial Reporting & Assurance Canada website as I always do. Nothing of significance to report back to you as of yet. The AASB boards are still deliberating comments on the various exposure drafts including Compilation Engagements, Agreed Upon Procedures, Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization and CAS 315 Identifying and Assessing the Risk of Material Misstatement. I will provide further update on all of these when issued. The only other matter of significance was information on the fact that the International Standards Board is developing an exposure draft on standards on quality control, now being referred to as Quality Management. This means the Canadian Exposure draft is to follow shortly. When issued I will provide you a summary of the impact this may have on your practice.
One last item. Don’t forget CPA dues are payable as of today and if paid after April 15, late charges will apply. You should have received a notice from your provincial CPA body as applicable. I hope the month is a good one and not too chaotic. As you work through the month, please feel free to call with any questions you may have. I am here to help you as needed. In the meantime, happy spring!!
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA