August 2020 Update

August 31, 2020 / Uncategorised

In this Update:  Professional Development; Standards Update; AUP Engagements; PEG Updates

Greetings,

This has been a busy month; despite the fact it is August. From my discussions with many of you, it seems we are all still catching up from the past few months and trying to get organized for the upcoming months. There has been a lot of activity related to Handbook updates along with related tools and practice aids, so much so I sent out two special updates earlier this month. I included the information again in this month-end update as they are so important I don’t want you to overlook them. Other topics this month are to help you get ready for fall and beyond. Read on…   


Path to Implementation – CSRS 4200 (ASK KSA Professional Development Course)

You have been reading information about the new standard for months now and it is time to act. The standard is effective periods ending on or December 14, 2021 – that is only 18 months from now!! What are you doing to get ready? I will be leading a Professional Development Course to help you understand the requirements and develop an implementation action plan between now and the effective date. The course is unique as it is practical in its approach and focuses on application, not technical.  

You will leave the course with a solid understanding of the standard and an implementation action plan. Tools and templates will be provided including a draft action plan, a scoping spreadsheet, basis for accounting template notes and documentation guidance.  

Registration will go live later this week but in the meantime, mark your calendars for the date that works best for you. The following sessions are currently available: 

  • September 17: 9 am – 12 pm CST  
  • September 23: 9 am – 12 pm CST 
  • September 24:  1:30 pm – 4:30 CST 

Each session will be live via Zoom and limited to 10 participants to allow for interactive discussions. As these sessions fill up, more will be added. Cost for the 3-hour verifiable CPD session is $600 plus GST. If you would like to arrange a separate session for your firm only (either in-person or on-line), contact me directly and we can arrange.  

READ COURSE DETAILS AND REGISTER HERE


Handbook Updates

The first special update of the month covered the CPA Canada Standards and Guidance Collection. There were many significant amendments and revisions in both the accounting and assurance sections of the Handbook. The accounting updates were for changes in standards for both ASPE and ASNPO. The assurance updates were revisions to certain CASs and the new standard CSRS 4400, related to Agreed-upon Procedures.  

ACCESS KNOTIA HERE (LOG IN)

READ ASK KSA DETAILED SUMMARY HERE


New Agreed-Upon Procedures Standard

Speaking of the new Agreed-Upon Procedures standard, CPA Canada published an article about this new standard which opens the door to a broader range of agree-up procedures (AUP) engagements. The new standard is effective for engagements for which the terms are agreed on or after January 1, 2022. In this case I believe early adoption is a good thing. The article covers the key differences between the existing standards (Sections 9100 and 9110) as well as things to watch out for when performing AUP engagements. Implementation tools will be coming but in the meantime, take a moment to understand the implications of the new standard. 

READ CPA CANADA ARTICLE HERE


Knotia PEG Release 

The second special update related to the 2020 PEG release. This year, the release will be in two phases. Practice Aids and Volume 1 are now available on Knotia. Volume 2, case studies and other content will be available in October. Highlights of the significant changes included the release of the new CSRS 4200 Compilation Engagements and CSRS 4400 Agreed Upon Procedures letters and practice aids and practice aids related to CAS 540. There were other changes that were classified as Major, Moderate or Minor. Read the What’s New Section to understand the updates or give me a call.  

READ ASK KSA DETAILED SUMMARY HERE


While we are busy these days, please take a moment to breathe and enjoy these last few dog days of summer (where did that saying come from anyway?). Remember, things will get done. I promise. I am here to help as needed. Have a great week. 

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


Another Special August Update – PEG 2020

August 11, 2020 / Special Update

Greetings, 

One more special update. You will have received an email from Knotia yesterday about the 2020 PEG release. This is so important I wanted to bring it to your attention and highlight a few key changes. Read on…

There have been two substantial updates to professional standards this year: CAS 540 Auditing Accounting Estimates and Related Disclosures and CSRS 4200 Compilation Engagements. The PEG 2020 update reflects changes to these standards as well as many other changes. See further details below about the release which will take place in two phases this year. The Practice Aids and Volume 1 are now available on Knotia. Volume 2, case studies and other content will be available in October. Highlights of the significant changes are:  

Compilation Engagements, CSRS 4200:

  • As a reminder, the standard is effective for compiled financial information for periods ending on or after December 14, 2021, with early application permitted.
  • New practice aids are available. These include checklists, reports, and letters. You will want to consider what, if any, forms will be used in your practice.  
  • A new section was created for all resources related to the new compilation engagements standard. This includes a new chapter in Volume 1 (Chapter 45), new chapters in Volume 2 (Chapters 35 – 38). 
  • Stay tuned for training I will be putting on in September (dates to be determined shortly). The course will focus on implementation of the new standard and things you can do now, including developing an action plan between now and the effective date. The training will be an online live three-hour session (qualifies for verifiable CPD hours). Each session (several to be offered) will be limited to 10 participants to allow for interactive discussion and questions to help you save time and achieve peace of mind.  

Practice Aids (Checklists):

  • Before fully implementing the 2020 versions, you will want to ensure you understand the changes as bringing in the new form overwrites existing data. The What’s New Section goes through each form in detail outlining whether changes are Major, Moderate or Minor and what practice aids are new.  
  • Major changes have been made to various forms to include the new requirements from revised CAS 540, Accounting Estimates and Related Disclosures.
  • Moderate changes also been made to the Financial Reporting Framework (FRF) forms to reflect the changes to the ASPE standards relating to Section 3856, Financial Instruments.

Volume 1 and 2:

  • Updates in both volumes reflecting the changes made to CAS 540, Auditing Accounting Estimates and Related Disclosures.
  • On Knotia, the introduction chapters have been separated out as a stand-alone section. Additionally, the volumes are provided as a PDF, making searching for individual topics easier.

Volume 3: Case Studies (new Section coming)

  • Case studies have been reorganized to provide easy access to the material. Grouped by audit and review each case study includes written explanations along with the related filled-in forms

The details of the updates have been summarized by the PEG on Knotia in the What’s New Section. CLICK HERE to access Knotia (you will have to log in). I have also attached the What’s New document to this email to save you time so you do not have to go searching for it. If you have any questions about the implementation of the updated 2020 PEG forms, reach out at anytime.  I am here to help. Enjoy the rest of the month!!


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


August 2020 – Special Update

August 7, 2020 / Special Update

Greetings,

The CPA Canada Standards and Guidance Collection (the “Handbook”) was updated this month. Unlike many previous releases which did not include noteworthy changes,  this time there were many significant amendments and revisions.

CPA Canada Handbook – Accounting

Part I – IFRS

Part II – ASPE

  • Amendments to:
    • Subsidiaries, Section 1591
    • Agriculture, Section 3041
    • Investment, Section 3051
    • Equity, Section 3251
    • Income Taxes, Section 3465
    • Financial Instruments, Section 3856
  • The amendments related to the deferral of effective dates, discussed in my May 2020 Update. Ensure you stay up top of when the new standards are effective as certain revisions have significant impact, the most being Financial Instruments and the classification of Redeemable Shares. This could have a substantial impact on your client’s financial statements. It is a good thing this has been deferred a year as gives more time to consider the impact and discuss such with your clients and their bankers. 
  • For further details, refer to Highlight Summary No. II. 24.

Part III – ASNPO

  • Amendments to: 
    • First-time Adoption by NPOs, Section 1501
    • Inventories Held by NPOs, Section 3032
    • Tangible Capital Assets Held by NPOs, Section 4433
    • Disclosure of Related Party Transactions by NPOs, Section 4460 
  • For further details, refer to Highlight Summary No. III. 13.

CPA Canada Handbook – Assurance

  • Conforming changes to Canadian standards (CAS 220, CSAE 3000, CSRE 2400) as a result of the Revised International Ethics Code. These were not significant changes. 
  • New standard for CSRS 4400, Agreed Upon Procedures and a new Guideline, AuG 50, Conducting a Performance Audit in the Public Sector in Accordance with CSAE 3001.
  • Amendments to CSRS 4460 Reports on Supplementary Matters Arising from an Audit or a Review Engagement. 
  • A number of other standards were withdrawn.
  • For further details, refer to Highlight Summary No. 31.

Lots of changes taking place. To access each of the links above, you will need to log onto Knotia. The details are worth reading. The other release that will be occurring is the 2020 PEG updates. This will also be an important release as the updates will checklists for the new compilation standard 7CSRS 4200 and CAS 540 Accounting Estimates among other editorial updates.  Once the new checklists are released, I will be reviewing them in detail and sending out another special update on critical changes I think you should be aware of. Call me with any questions you may have. This definitely is a busy summer but I am here to help you save time and achieve peace of mind.

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


July 2020 Update

July 31, 2020 / Monthly Newsletter

In this Update:  CSRS 4200; Professional Development; Firm Risk Management; ASPE Standards; PSAS Standards;

Greetings,

Here it is already at the end of July. It seems that only last week I was waiting for March to end. Where does time go? And why does it go so quickly? Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers to these questions so have decided to focus on the future and what needs to be done to manage a practice in an efficient and effective manner. The theme for this month is being prepared. Read on…

CSRS 4200 Compilation Engagements (CSRS 4200)

The new compilation standard is effective for periods ending on or after December 14, 2021. While that may seem like a long time away, in fact, it is only 18 months from now. Talk about time moving quickly, the effective date will be here quicker than you think but there are many things you can start now to get ready. CPA Canada recently hosted a Practitioners Pulse Webinar on CSRS 4200 and the real-life experiences of three practitioners who have implemented the standard and their experiences in doing so.  They had very practical responses to the questions posed on implementation. It is worth spending an hour of your time listening to this one.  

ACCESS WEBINAR HERE

Professional Development

I believe it is critical to develop a project management plan over the next 18 months as the new standard could have a significant impact on your practice. I will be delivering an online training course to help practitioners learn how to implement the new standard in an effective and efficient manner through recognizing where business decisions are required, determining the approach to meeting requirements and developing an action plan between now and the effective date. There will be several sessions available starting mid-September. Stay tuned for details. In the meantime, you can check out a detailed description of the course on my website. I will let you know when dates have been finalized and registration is open. 

READ COURSE DESCRIPTION HERE

Risk Management (Firm Risk Management)

Another area to be prepared relates to practice liability.  Even though we may prefer not to think of it, it is important to think of risk as we continue to serve clients through these time. As much as we don’t like to think about it, unfortunately claims are a part of business. CPA Professional Liability Plan Inc. believes there will be increased and unique claims risks that will arise over the next months and years. They have a unique perspective in their recent article on this topic which includes issues to consider as you perform engagements.   

READ ARTICLE HERE

Withdrawing from an Engagement (Firm Risk Management)

Speaking of business risk and being prepared, no matter how perfect the partnership between a firm and its client may seem, as with all things in business, sometimes the partnership does not work out. This can leave both parties questioning whether a practitioner can withdraw from the engagement. An article from Accounting Today explores several scenarios in which an auditor might withdraw from an audit and the implications of doing so. While the article focuses on audit engagements, the principles are similar for other types of engagement.  

READ ARTICLE HERE

Public Sector Accounting Standards Deferral (ASPE Standards, PSAS Standards)

Finally, you have a longer period of time get prepared on certain public sector accounting standards. The Public Sector Accounting Standards Board met late in June/early July to discuss several upcoming changes to accounting standards. Among other topics discussed, they decided to defer the effective date of all upcoming accounting standards by one year. These include:

  • PS 3280 Asset Retirement Obligations – previous implementation date changed from fiscal years beginning on or after April 1, 2021 to April 2022
  • PS 3450 Financial Instruments/ PS 3041 Portfolio Investments/PS 1201 Financial Statement Presentation/PS 2601 Foreign Currency Translation – previous implementation date changed from fiscal years beginning on or after April 1, 2021 to April 2022 however some public sector organizations may have already adopted these standards
  • PS 3400 Revenue – previous implementation date changed from fiscal years beginning on or after April 1, 2022 to April 2023

As a reminder, the May update highlighted the deferral of effective dates for ASPE standards including 3051 Investments, 3465 Income Taxes and 3856 Financial Instruments

READ FULL DECISION SUMMARY HERE

READ MAY UPDATE HERE


Enjoy your August. There a lot of things to look forward to in the upcoming month, the most exciting of which is the 2020 release of the PEG checklists.  Along with the typical revisions and updates, the important documents will be the new checklists related to CSRS 4200 Compilation Engagements and CAS 540 Accounting Estimates. I look forward to reviewing all of the updates in detail and providing my views to you to help you make the business decision on implementation. In the meantime, feel free to reach out any time with any questions. I am here to help save you time and provide peace of mind. Have a great long weekend. I look forward to enjoying the sunny warm days, watering my flowers and golfing, a lot. 

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


June 2020 Update

June 30, 2020 / Monthly Newsletter

In this Update:  Less Complex Entities; Technology; Dealing with Clients; COVID-19 Challenges

Greetings,

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. 

READ DECISION SUMMARY HERE

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.

READ ARTICLE HERE

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. 

READ ARTICLE HERE

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. 

READ ARTICLE HERE


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. 

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


May 2020 Update

May 29, 2020 / Monthly Newsletter

In this Update:  ASPE Standards, CSRS 4200; SME Accounting; Auditor Considerations

Greetings,

This month flew by for me and I am not quite sure why. Maybe it is because the new routines have become familiar, maybe it is because I am busy with a few special projects or maybe it is just because it has been nice out and I have taken time to enjoy the backyard and my flowers. In the end it doesn’t matter, all I know is I have started focussing on the future once again instead of trying to get by day by day. This month’s updates are also mainly about the future. Read on…

Deferral of Effective Dates for ASPE Standards

At its meeting on April 15, 2020, the Accounting Standards Board (AcSB) made the decision to defer the effective dates of the following amendments effective for years beginning on or after January 1, 2020 by one year to January 1, 2021:

  • Amendments to Section 3051, Investments (related to clarifying guidance related to the cost method also applying to jointly controlled enterprises)
  • Amendments to Section 3465, Income Taxes (related to removing requirement to present FIT as current and non-current when future income taxes method applied and other minor updates)
  • Amendments to Section 3856, Financial Instruments (related to accounting for related party financial instruments, amending risk disclosure requirements and classification of Redeemable Preferred Shares)

The biggest takeaway from list above is the postponement of the effective date for financial instruments related to the amendments on Redeemable Preferred Shares Issued in a Tax Planning Arrangement. Due to the amendments, it was expected many preferred shares may now have to be classified as liability versus equity. The postponement allows practitioners more time to perform the analysis of classification and clients more time to discuss the impact on covenants with their lenders. Good news all around.  

The AcSB is also deferring the effects dates of the new Section 3041, Agriculture and amendments to Section 3400, Revenue, effective for year beginning on or after January 1, 2021 by one year to January 1, 2022. Early adoption of each of the amendments and the new Section continues to be permitted.

READ DECISION SUMMARY HERE

CSRS 4200 Guidance

Unlike the accounting standards, there has been no discussion on deferring the effective date for this standard. CPA Canada is hosting a special Practitioner’s Pulse on the new compilation standard. The webinar, to be held in July, will help you learn about the new compilation standard, CSRS 4200 and cover implementation guidance available. Listen to practitioners share practical tips and answer questions on how to implement the new standard. I already have been working with a number of practitioners on implementation as there are many activities you can undertake well in advance of the effective date (periods ending on or after December 14, 2021).

REGISTER HERE

Small Businesses Need Small Accounting Firms

In times like these small businesses turn to their advisors for assistance.  It is important to be there for your clients as that is what keeps your firm growing.  Business owners are making hard decision about their employees, struggling to maintain ongoing expenses despite losses in revenue and deciphering confusing information about which government programs might be able to help them. With candid and empathetic discussion and a flexible approach, practitioners can enable their clients with the right tools to bridge the gap between crisis mode and action mode. In this article from Accounting Today there are three guiding principles to focus on as you help clients navigate disruption. 

READ ARTICLE HERE

Auditor Considerations

Okay, one topic that is back to the current environment but included as it helpful as you complete current engagements. It is hard to keep track of all the guidance, articles and resources to help auditors address the risks in performing their engagements in relation to the impact of COVID-19 operations, financial results, operations and cash flows of organizations.  However, CPA Canada’s latest resource does a good job in bringing it all together. This publication covers most of the topics auditors should be thinking about and links to other resources available. Almost a one-stop shop, almost. 

READ GUIDANCE HERE


This was also a big month in that Revised CAS 315 (Identifying and Assessing the Risk of Material Misstatement) was formally released in the Handbook. The Revised CAS 315 is effective for audits of financial statements for periods beginning on or after December 31, 2021. I will provide you more guidance on this CAS in the coming months but I wanted to bring this to your attention as it is indicative that standards are still changing and it is important to keep up and not fall behind so you do not have to scramble at the last minute to keep up. As they say, slow and steady wins the race. Feel free to reach out any time. I am here to help save you time and provide peace of mind. In the meantime, have a great weekend.

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


April 2020 Update

April 30, 2020 / Monthly Newsletter

In this Update:  Dealing with Clients, COVID-19 Support; Standards Update; Reminder

Greetings,

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. 

READ ARTICLE HERE

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. 

READ ALERT HERE

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. 

READ ARTICLE HERE

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.

READ ARTICLE HERE

Reminder

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.

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


March 2020 Update

March 31, 2020 / Monthly Newsletter

In this Update:  COVID-19 Support; Financial Reporting; Testing Inventory; Beneficial Ownership

Greetings,

Wow, the world has changed so much in the past month as we now try to figure out the new normal in these uncertain times. As I read through all the email updates, notices and social media posts, I was almost overwhelmed as there is so much information out there. While there are many changes – in how we work, how we interact with clients, extended deadlines – ironically, it is still business “as usual” for many as the work still needs to get done. This month’s topics focus on resources I believe will be helpful in addressing some of the issues you may be facing in getting that work done.  Read on…

CPA Canada COVID-19 Resource Support

CPA Canada is committed to adapting and providing timely and relevant information to their members. They are trying to limit emails being sent out and rather are updating their website for relevant topics. They now have a CPA Canada has a COVID-19 resource page listing resources available to help respond to the challenges that now face us. The resources vary in their nature and their source and include publications from accounting firms, lawyers and lenders. Topics covered include crisis response strategies, cash flow management, corporate governance and protecting employees and work remote arrangements. There are many publications in the list that may be of interest to your firm directly or to your clients. 

ACCESS CPA CANADA RESOURCE PAGE HERE

In response to the fact the majority of inquiries from members relate to tax issues, CPA Canada is offering a tax-focused webinar on April 3, 2020 that will address many of the recent announcements by the Federal Government. Topics will include enhanced wage subsidy and GST deferral among other topics. A great resource to more fully understand the current environment so you can in turn advise your clients.   

REGISTER FOR WEBINAR HERE

Financial Statement Disclosure Considerations

Over the past week I have had many practitioners phone me to discuss financial statement disclosures for their clients. While I don’t expect to see wide-sweeping generic disclosures, I believe financial statement disclosures may be required for specific circumstances. Companies might scale back operations, have supply chain impacted, lose customers or shut down altogether in reaction to the uncertain times. Such matters as the going concern presumption, valuation of goodwill, impairment of assets, banking covenant requirements, onerous contract provisions and valuation of inventory are significant and require the use of professional judgement on the impact on the financial statements. Many of the larger firms have published articles on financial statement disclosures and after reading most of them, I feel that Deloitte’s is the most comprehensive and informative.   While the article is IFRS related, there are many matters that may also be relevant for those companies using ASPE or ASNPO. Use this as the starting point to think about the specific disclosures needed for your clients. And consult where needed.

READ FINANCIAL STATEMENT DISCLOSURES UPDATE HERE

Testing Inventory Without a Site Visit

The current situation has made inventory testing a huge challenge for auditors, particularly for client entities with a March 31 year end. An article published by the Journal of Accountancy provides guidance on alternative procedures when one can’t attend an inventory count. A cautionary note, the article refers to standards in the US but many of the issues raised consistent with Canadian accounting standards for ASPE and ASNPO.  Please feel free to reach out to discuss this issue further as you consider your auditing requirements related to inventory for your clients.

READ ARTICLE HERE

Beneficial Ownership Rules

In the line of business as usual, one change that may slip through the cracks is changes to the Canadian Business Corporations Act mandating the collection of beneficial ownership information, which came into effect in June 2019. The requirement is to track and record individuals who have significant control of the corporation. “Significant” has been deemed to be 25 % or more of the voting rights or 25% or more of the fair market value of shares. While this is a federal requirement, many provinces have taken steps to also make these changes. Manitoba enacted their rules which become effective April 8, 2020 with other provinces following suit.  CPA Canada has written a good article on how CPAs can assist clients in meeting this requirement including building awareness, advising and sharing expertise. It is a worthwhile read to help your clients be prepared and meet the requirement which has a stiff penalty if not met. I have not heard of any delays or changes to this requirement. 

READ ARTICLE HERE


You will note that I did not include any links on “tips on working from home” as these types of articles are plentiful. Nor did I include any articles on recent announcements from the government on such things as the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit or the enhanced wage subsidy (other than the link to the Webinar) as these articles are also abundant and it is important to go to the source that is most applicable to your clients. I believe that many small owner-managed companies will be relying on their accountants to help them understand or apply for these programs. It is a time when professionals are needed more than ever – I guess that is why the provincial government has stated that accountants are critical service providers and may remain open. Please feel free to reach out any time, I am here to assist you as you assist your clients. 

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


February 2020 Update

February 28, 2020 / Monthly Newsletter

In this Update:  CSRS 4200; Dealing with Clients; Questioning Techniques; Growing your Practice

Greetings,

Happy leap day!! Another busy month has just passed by. We continue to move forward with the eventual implementation of new approved standards; CSRS 4200, CAS 540 and the recently approved CAS 315 will keep us busy for the mid- to long-term.  In the meantime, there are short-term actions that can be taken to help us get ready for the coming changes to come. This month’s topics relate to actions that can be taken to help us be more prepared. Read on…

CSRS 4200

As previously reported to you, the new standard on CSRS 4200 was recently approved. CPA Canada has released several publications to support in understanding and implementation of the new handbook section. The most recent of these is the Practitioner Alert helps to understand the changes and how those changes will impact your performance of compilation engagements. Along with this, they issued two other publications to help you in your discussions with clients and third parties. I have started discussions with some firms on ideas on implementation plans; while as the standards are not effective until periods ending on or after December 14, 2021, there are several actions you can take now to be prepared.

READ PRACTITIONERS ALERT HERE                                

READ CLIENT BRIEFING HERE

READ THIRD PARTY BRIEFING HERE

Better Meetings

With the ever-changing standards 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. They recognize with CPA firms becoming trusted business advisors, it’s important to ensure that client 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”.

READ TIPS HERE

Good Questioning Techniques

Technical knowledge is not the only thing to focus on during these busy months. Soft skills can be just as important and questioning techniques top the list as we work with our clients. With the new standards coming, there are many discussions to hold with your clients. Strong questioning skills help you gather more quality information, help you learn about the business, helps other learn, helps build better relationships and helps to manage problems and people effectively. With that in mind, I thought you might find the article Good Questioning Techniques is an interesting read and may be passed onto your staff to help them develop and learn.  

READ GOOD QUESTIONING TECHNIQUES HERE 

10 Steps for Getting Practice Growth Right

I often hear from firms that they want to grow and expand their client base. When a firm is poised for growth, expansion can help attract new business, offer strong career paths, help you remain relevant to client and enhance the firm’s value. Managing growth isn’t always easy, however, as you confront the challenge of scaling your practice effectively. A noteworthy article from the Journal of Accountancy has tips from experienced CPAs on how to navigate a period of growth and is worth the read.  

READ ARTICLE HERE


This is going to be an exciting but busy year. I am now a member of the Audit and Assurance Standards Board (AASB) recently formed Audit of Less Complex Entities Advisory Group which provides guidance and advice to the AASB on the direction of Canadian Auditing Standards in the context of the challenges that small- to mid-sized practitioners face when auditing these types of companies. I look forward to hearing your views which in turn I can pass onto the Advisory Group. I will also pass on any updates back to you that I can during the course of this project. In the meantime, if you have any questions on this project, implementation of CSRS 4200 or any other topics, please do not hesitate to reach out. I am here to help save you time and provide peace of mind. 

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


Special Release: CSRS 4200 In the Handbook!! (and clarification on the effective date)

February 3, 2020 / Special Update

Greetings,

The new Handbook Section CSRS 4200 Compilation Engagements was released on the weekend and is now officially in the Handbook. First and foremost, a point of clarity – the section is effective for periods on or after December 14, 2021, that is effective for fiscal years ending December 31, 2021. I had a typo in my January update. My apologies and thanks to the eagle eyes that pointed this out.

CPA Canada summarized some of the key features, designed to respond to stakeholder input and public interest issues as follows:

  • A scope that sets out which services are compilation engagements. Today, practitioners find it difficult to distinguish a bookkeeping service from a compilation engagement. The new standard clarifies that a bookkeeping service may result in system-generated financial information. Such information is excluded from the scope of the standard if no communication is included or attached to it.
  • Specific engagement acceptance considerations that apply when the compiled financial information is intended to be used by a third party. Currently, practitioners are unclear about whether it is appropriate to accept or continue a compilation engagement when there is a third-party user.
  • Specific required work effort and documentation. The lack of explicit guidance in this area could be a reason for the existing variability in practice.
  • A requirement that compiled financial information includes a note describing the basis of accounting that was applied. Today, users generally lack an understanding of how the compiled financial information was prepared.
  • A new compilation engagement report that is more informative and insightful than the current Notice to Reader. Users are unclear as to the extent of work performed by the practitioner and have asked for greater transparency about those responsibilities.

Even though the standard is not effective for some time, there are a number of activities you can undertake already to be prepared. These include:

  • Read the actual standard and the Basis for Conclusion (both in Knotia).  
  • Read CPA publications and other material issued as these help promote awareness, understanding and effective implementation (two links below of material already issued).
  • Consider how the standard impacts your current engagements.
  • Design an implementation plan – there are certain requirements that may make sense to start implementing in this current year so everything does not hit all at once when effective.
  • Talk to your clients.

Below are links to guidance and information to help you get started. 


Please feel free to reach out at any time for support on implementing the new standards. 

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


January 2020 Update

January 31, 2020 / Monthly Newsletter

In this Update:  Assessing RMM; Mandatorily Redeemable Shares; Audit Estimates; Professional Judgement; Compilation Engagements

Greetings,

Happy New Year!! I know it is a bit late to be saying that but for many, I have not had the chance to wish you all the best in the new year before now. I am very excited about the upcoming year. There are a lot of impending changes that will make it challenging but what is life without a bit of excitement. Read on…

CAS 315 (Revised) Identifying and Assessing RMM Approved in Canada

CAS 315 (Revised) was recently approved at the December 2, 2019 meeting of the AASB. There were no changes from the same International Standard that was approved earlier in the year. CAS 315 will be effective for audits of financial statements for periods beginning on or after December 15, 2021 (that is, effective for fiscal years ending December 31, 2022). The Handbook section itself will be released in the Handbook in May 2020. There will be application material, webinars and other tools released over the next few months to assist with application of the new requirements; I will keep you updated on these sessions as they become available.  Of course, I am available to assist in training and implementation. 

READ PROJECT UPDATE HERE

Section 3856 Retractable or Mandatorily Redeemable Shares (ROMRS) now Effective

The new standard on ROMRS (Section 3856) came into effect on January 1,2020. This standard not only applies to shares issued after January 1, 2020 also to shares issued before then. This means the new standard could be a big deal for your private companies as shares previously classified as equity may now need to be classified as liabilities which may put a company offside on its banking covenants. CPA Canada published an ASPE briefing which provides guidance on the new standard and transition issues. Make sure your clients start talking to banks now if necessary to ensure there are no surprises when the year end statements are issued.

READ BRIEFING HERE

CAS 540 (Revised) Audit Estimates

While you are talking to clients, you may also want to think about the revised auditing standard for estimates. This standard is effective for periods beginning on or after December 15, 2019 (that is, effective for fiscal years ending December 31, 2020) however, depending on the nature of your client’s estimates, it may be helpful to be proactive and think about the impact of the changes in this standard. CPA Canada has published a client briefing document that will help you in your discussions with your clients.  This should be an area of focus in training courses for your staff over the upcoming year.

READ BRIEFING HERE

Time to Reinforce Professional Judgment

All of the upcoming changes reminds us that professional judgement is an underlying concept in our daily work. We are often called upon to exercise professional judgment and professional skepticism which may not always be easy. An interesting article from IFAC provides a 6 elements as to how judgment can be evaluated along with an illustration of each action. It is an excellent read and provides food for thought. 

READ ARTICLE HERE

CSRS 4200 Canadian Standard on Related Services

As previously communicated the new standard on compilation engagements was approved in October 2019 and is effective for compiled financial information for periods ending on or after December 14, 2021 (that is, effective for fiscal years ending December 31, 2022). The actual standard will be released in the Handbook in February 2020. I will send out a special update upon release along with links to any application guidance.  In the meantime, nothing new to report.


All the best in the new year. Don’t forget that today is the CPD Reporting Deadline. A reminder to those I have worked with over the year is that the training time and discussion on standards is all verifiable hours. I look forward to the upcoming year and working with you to implement all  upcoming changes, perform efficient and effective engagements and grow your practices. Please feel free to reach out at any time as I am here to assist as needed. 

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


December 2019 Update

December 28, 2019 / Monthly Newsletter

In this Update:  10 Great TED Talks on Leadership; Think Like Steve Jobs and Galileo; Succession Planning

Greetings,

The final update of the year. It is amazing to think how quickly 2019 has passed by. There were many standard changes over the past year and there will be many more in 2020. For the next few days however I am not focussed on standards but rather, on family and friends. I hope that you are able to spend quality time with friends, family and other loved ones over the holidays, I know I will be. With that in mind, this month’s update items are very light reads on interesting topics that apply to not only business but everyday life. Read on…

10 Great TED Talks on Leadership

It is not always about the standards. In our business, the soft skills are as, or often more, important than the technical skills. As influential leaders and the extent to which we have to interact with staff, clients and even family and friends, means it is important to understand how we can motivate others. Top leaders often talk about “growing others” and how their actions can inspire and develop their teams. Leaders share these thoughts and provide insights you can use to improve your leadership skills.

READ ARTICLE HERE

Five Ways to Think Like Galileo and Steve Jobs

We must incorporate professional skepticism into our engagements, not only because the standards say we have to but also to ensure we are asking the right questions, challenging our assumptions and arriving at the right conclusions. A thought-provoking article from Psychology today discusses the difference between cynics and skeptics and provides tips on how to develop habits of thinking that challenge what appear to be reliable facts.  Be like Galileo and Steve Jobs and test assumptions over human activity leading to greater understanding, innovation and creativity. 

READ ARTICLE HERE

Succession Planning

I am facilitating a Practitioner Forum Session on the topic of Succession Planning on January 15, 2020. Practitioners are engaged in running practices and servicing clients typically with the focus on immediate upcoming events. However, circumstances may require succession planning to move up the priority list. This may be the result of scheduled events such as retirement or due to unexpected events such as an illness.  Planning and preparation will help you move through both these types of events. This session will assist you succession planning transition, emergency preparedness, working with colleagues and requirements under the Code of Conduct. Think today about tomorrow. Please join me for this informative and interactive session.

REGISTER HERE


I am very excited about the upcoming year with all the changes yet to come. 2020 will be a busy year, in the meantime, I want to take this moment to which you all safe and happy holidays. I look forward to working with you in to help save you time and provide you peace of mind. Happy New Year.

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


November 2019 Update

December 4, 2019 / Monthly Newsletter

In this Update:  Retractable or Mandatorily Redeemable Shares; ASPE Resources; Practice Inspection Report; Pricing Client Engagements

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

In this Update:  CSRS 4200; CAS 315; Redeemable Preferred Shares; Ethical Dilemmas

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

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

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

In this Update:  Standards Updates; PEG Updates; Firm Risk Management; Pricing Client Engagements

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

In this Update:  Less Complex Entities; Firm Risk Management; Understanding Financial Statements.

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


June 2019 Update

June 30, 2019 / Monthly Newsletter

In this Update:  Summary of Upcoming Changes; Support for SMP; Common Technology Mistakes

Greetings, 

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
Canadian Auditing Standards
READ CAS UPDATES HERE
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.  
Canadian Standards on Quality Controls
READ CSQC1 UPDATES HERE
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. 
Other Canadian Standards
READ OTHER STANDARDS UPDATES HERE
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. 
Accounting Standards for Private Enterprises
READ ASPE UPDATES HERE
Agriculture Exposure draft issued July 2018 and feedback being considered. Impact:  Significant changes for farming clients. 
Accounting Standards for Not-For-Profit Organizations
READ ASNPO UPDATES HERE
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.

ACCESS RESOURCES HERE

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.  

READ ARTICLE HERE


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. 

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


May 2019 Update

May 31, 2019 / Monthly Newsletter

In this Update:  Ethics; Rising Revenues for SMP; Succession Planning; Compliance Reporting

Greetings,

It is ironic the standard setters are so busy yet there is nothing new to report. Over the past few months, I provided you details about exposure drafts for auditing standards (CAS 315), compilation engagements (CSRS 4200) and quality management (CSQM 1 and CSQM 2) among other technical topics. But the standard setters are still deliberating on comments received so there is no new news on any of these fronts. I will continue to track status and let you know as soon as there are developments. So, in the meantime, I have highlighted other random topics of interest I have come across. Read on…

Ethics

With the new professional development requirement to have at least four hours of verifiable PD specifically related to ethics, this subject matter is a hot topic these days. In fact I am developing an Ethics Workshop to be delivered to firms to help meet this requirement in an interesting and unique way. Feel free to contact me about delivering “Putting Ethics into Practice” to the members of your firm. While preparing this workshop I came across an article that I think may be of interest to you. “Paying Professional Ethics More than Lip Service” provides guidance on building trust in business and how to be anchored by fundamental ethical principles. 

READ ARTICLE HERE

Rising Revenues for Sole Practitioners and Small Firms

As a sole practitioner or a partner of a small to mid-sized firm, it can be challenging to gather competitive information on how you are doing compared to your peers. “Rising Revenues for Sole Practitioners and Small Firms” summarizes the results of the 2019 Accounting and Bookkeeping Operations and Technology. According to the survey, 36.2% of respondents earned more than $150,000 in revenue for 2018 compared to only 31.8% in 2017.  How do you compare?

READ SURVEY RESULTS HERE

Succession Planning

This past month I led a practitioner forum on the topic of human resources.  It was a very interesting session with a variety of topics discussed including recruiting, retaining, compensating and motivating staff. One topic we did not cover in detail but is very important is building your team is succession planning. To secure the future succession, and success, of your firm, it is important to start with what kind of team you must create. An article from Accounting Today provides an interesting perspective on building teams and how planning for such breaks down to two categories: composition and development.

READ ARTICLE HERE

Compliance Reporting

I have included Compliance Reporting as a topic in previous months but as I have received numerous questions on this topic over the past month I thought it worthwhile raising again. Often government (such as Manitoba Housing), and other oversight, agencies will include the type of report they want issued in the agreement. However these agencies are not the standard setters and do not understand our requirements as practitioners. It is important to educate these agencies on the types of reports that can be issued. The new standards 3530 Attestation Engagement to Report on Compliance or CSAE 3531 Direct Engagement to Report on Compliance are the reports to be issued related to compliance with lease, funding or other debt agreements. These standards are effective for compliance reports dated on or after April 1, 2019. If you want a pair of fresh eyes to read your report before you release it, just reach out.

READ AUDIT ALERT HERE


As mentioned in the introduction, I will keep you updated on technical developments as they happen. In the meantime, if you have any questions on any topic or would like further information on the Ethics Workshop, please feel free to contact me. We are headed into the time where practice inspections are taking place and it is a good time to ensure you have the right processes in place to address quality and other matters. I am here to help as needed. Have a great weekend. 

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


Putting HR into Practice – May 15

May 8, 2019 / Special Update

Please join me at the CPA Manitoba Practitioner Forum on May 15. This event will be held at the CPA Manitoba office from 5:00 – 7:00 pm. Appetizers will be provided. The topic this time is on the unique human resources (HR) issues that small to mid-sizes firms face. 

I am facilitating this month’s forum and presenting on such topics as the reviewing results of the most recent salary survey, discussing current trends in the market related to salaries and highlighting challenges and ideas with respect to recruiting, retaining, motivating and engaging staff.  The presentation will be followed by a facilitated round table discussion so practitioners can share their experiences and learn from others.  

Further details and registration can be found at the following link: https://cpamb.ca/news-events/events or on the CPA Manitoba website.  I hope to see you there.

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


April 2019 Update

April 21, 2019 / Monthly Newsletter

In this Update:  Exposure Drafts (Quality Management & Others); Other Information (CAS 720); auditing Less Complex Entities

Greetings,

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.

READ ALERT HERE

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.

READ ALERT HERE

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.

READ IAASB DISCUSSION PAPER HERE


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.

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


March 2019 Update

April 1, 2019 / Monthly Newsletter

In this Update:  CRA Tax HelpLine; Compliance Reporting Standards; CPA Manitoba’s Practitioner Forum; Standards Updates

Greetings,

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.  

REGISTER HERE

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.  

READ MORE HERE

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.

REGISTER HERE

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!!

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


February 2019 Update

February 28, 2019 / Monthly Newsletter

In this Update:  Auditor Reporting Guide; Enhancing Documentation; New Review Engagement Standards; Technology

Greetings,

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.

ACCESS GUIDE HERE

Enhancing Documentation

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.

WATCH VIDEO HERE

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.

READ MORE HERE

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.

READ MORE HERE


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. 

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


January 2019 Update

January 31, 2019 / Monthly Newsletter

In this Update:  Managing Fee Pressures; Better Client Meetings; Learning Mindfulness

Greetings,

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.

READ MORE HERE

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.

READ MORE HERE

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”.

READ MORE HERE

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.

READ MORE HERE


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
President