New year, new standards and new baby. What a great start to the year. My son and daughter-in-law just had a little baby girl so I am now a grandma and I can’t be more excited. The excitement of new standards pale in comparison but we can’t lose sight of these many upcoming changes. Read on…
At their meeting on January 21, 2021, the AASB approved the new Quality Management standards consisting of CSQM1, CSQM 2 and CAS 220. The final standards will be published in a Handbook update in May 2021. The standards will be effective as follows:
These new Quality Management standards were approved by the IAASB in September 2020. Rest assured I will be providing updates and links to guidance on these standards as they are made available. In the meantime, a video from the Chair of the ISQM Task Force provides a clear and concise overview of the new requirements. Very worth the half hour of your time. WATCH THE VIDEO HERE
With all of the upcoming assurance and accounting changes, I thought it worthwhile to summarize these for you so you have all in one place. I created a simple document that you can print and keep handy. The key thing to remember is the standards in effect for years ending December 31, 2020 which are CAS 540 Auditing Estimates and Section 3465 Leases. There are many more standards for years ending December 31, 2021 but for now focus on what you need to know. ACCESS ASK KSA SUMMARY PDF HERE
CPA Canada published two good guidance tools on various accounting issues related to Covid back in May 2020. However, as you start to perform engagements in this upcoming year, many of the factors still exist and therefore I wanted to bring these publications to your attention once again. They include specific guidance on the many accounting issues that may have to be addressed along with practical consideration and the applicable handbook section. READ ASPE GUIDANCE HERE READ ASNPO GUIDANCE HERE
Being a trusted advisor is more than the audit or review or tax return. It is about providing guidance and support to your clients. CPAs are asking for insights on how to deal with emerging business issues resulting from COVID-19. Learn about these issues and the guidance available to help your client deal with issues such as enforceability of commercial contracts, business interruption insurance coverage and authentication of documents among other topics. READ RESOURCES HERE
What does the upcoming year have in store for firms? What are your plans? How do you compare to others. In November Accounting Today conducted its annual survey of firms of all sizes polling practitioners on everything from the growth expectations to their plans for tech spending their use of social idea, the new services they are offering and what they expect to happen with the pandemic. The stats are very interesting. How do you compare? READ SURVEY RESULTS HERE
A key initiative I will be undertaking over the next few months is developing online, on demand professional development courses. Courses will be about one hour in length and cover many topics such as the new Quality Management Standards, practical application of the auditing standards such as performing substantive analytical procedures and journal entry testing, and other soft skills topics such as ethics, coaching and feedback and communicating with clients. As I develop my online course curriculum, I would be very interested in feedback from you as to what topics you would like me to include. I am open to all ideas and would love to hear from you.
What topics are of importance to you? What courses would you like to participate in? What thoughts do you have on what should be included in my online courses? Send me an email.
Don’t forget provincial PD reporting requirements. Reporting due at the end of this month (NOW!).
It is going to be an exciting year on all fronts. While I will be busy with my new baby granddaughter, I will also be very busy with the many new standards and helping you keep up to date as you implement them to ensure you conduct efficient and effective engagements. I look forward to working with you as needed. As always, I am here to help you save time and achieve peace of mind. Reach out anytime.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
The end of the year is upon us. My original intention was to send a holiday greeting only. However, there was such an exciting announcement this week that I could not help but to send one technical update – one audit standard for the audits of less complex entities?!?! Crazy. It is an exciting time to be in public practice with so many changes on the horizon. Read on…
As previously mentioned, I am a member of the Advisory Group to the AASB on the Audits of Less Complex Entities (LCE). A huge announcement was just that has significant implications on the audits of these types of clients. On December 15, 2020 the IAASB announced the approval of the project to develop a draft of a separate standard for the audits of LCEs. The IAASB is developing the the standard on the following basis:
The Audit and Assurance Standards Board (AASB) is a part of the discussion and has had input into the approach. I can share with you first hand that our review of the existing standards and where “pain points” exist, the discussion of what the new standard might look like, and concepts to follow have been extensive and in-depth. It is so exiting to be a part of Canadian standard setting. The target date for the exposure draft on the new standard is mid-2021. That is incredibly fast in the standard setting world but there is a recognition that this project needs to move forward at an advanced pace. Our Advisory Group will be reviewing the draft exposure draft in January with the objective of providing further insights on the challenges faced by auditors in the audits of these types of entities. I am honored to be a part of the conversation. If you have any strong views on the separate standard and its basis, I would love to hear them and pass them on in our Advisory Group discussions. You can read more here about the details of the proposed project. Two very good short summaries of what is ahead.
The year 2020 has been like no other in so many ways. I read an article earlier this week that spoke to me as it had two important concepts that sum up 2020:
If we keep these these two important concepts top of mind, 2021 should be a breeze, no matter what it holds. I want to take this opportunity to wish you all the best in 2021.
From my family to yours, happy holidays. I hope you have a chance to relax and enjoy some time off and for a moment, just sit in peace. The work will be there tomorrow, so focus on what is important to you. As always, I am here to help you save time and achieve peace of mind.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
Another busy month – where does the time go? As we head into the last part of the year, it is important to stay focused on what we need to get done to be prepared for the new year. One of the key action items is to remind yourself of what is upcoming. Therefore this month’s topics are limited to the near future. Reminders of revised and new standards and details of training courses to help you get ready. Read on…
Reminder, reminder, reminder… Revised CAS 540 Auditing Estimates is effective for upcoming December 2020 year ends. This standard will have an impact on all audit engagements, even those clients with less complex estimates. CPA Canada recently released a publication to help you with implementation. Their FAQ provides answers to common questions on the revised standard. A really good tool to help you understand implementation issues.
Practice inspections are a part of our profession. I have spent a lot of time over the past year either helping firms get ready for a practice inspection or responding to their practice inspection results. The Annual Focus on Practice Inspection summarizing all inspection findings was released this week. It is helpful to understand what deficiencies occurred so you can take action to help ensure the same findings don’t happen in your engagements. The Manitoba results are consistent with findings from other provinces as results are shared and compared across the country. Very worth your time to read.
The year end deadline is fast approaching! Often it can be a challenge to find good, practical and worthwhile PD courses. ASK KSA has several upcoming on-line workshops to help you meet those required verifiable PD hours. We can also deliver tailored in-house courses as needed. Reach out to me directly. Current live online workshop offerings are as follows:
Path to Implementation – CSRS 4200
(3 hours verifiable CPD)
January 6, 2021 @ 1:30 pm
January 21, 2021 @ 1:30 pm $600
What’s New? 2020 Assurance and Accounting Update
(3 hours verifiable CPD)
December 18 @ 1:30 pm $200
Many practitioners are reaching out to me these days for assistance on many topics. We are facing many challenges in our current environment. Results of practice inspections, financial statement disclosure matters, file efficiency reviews, monitoring, implementing the new compilation standard… the list goes on. Please feel free to call with whatever is on your mind. I am here to save you time and provide peace of mind.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
At the beginning of the month I was still golfing and now there are several centimeters of snow on the ground. It reminds me that winter is coming, if not already here. This month’s update includes a technical topics that are relevant in the near future and planning now will help you be more efficient later. Also included are topics to help you continue to build your business. Read on…
Even though the new compilation standard is not effective until 2021, I continue to encourage practitioners to think about implementation matters today. There are many activities you can undertake between now and then to lessen your work effort. CPA Canada has published a good implementation tool. You may also want to consider participating in one of the upcoming on-line PD workshops I am offering (link below). As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.
CSRS 4200 IMPLEMENTATION TOOL
The Professional Engagement Guide (PEG) has released the second and final phase of the 2020 update. Volume 2 has now been updated for CAS 540 (Estimates) and CSRS 4200 (Compilation Engagements). New Volume 3 which include case studies and filled-in forms has also been released.
The Accounting Standards Board is amending Section 3065, Leases, in early November. This amendment is good news as it provides relief for both lessees and lessors on accounting for lease modifications received or granted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The amendments apply to annual financial statements ending on or after December 31, 2020, with earlier application permitted.
For the 2020 tax year, the CRA will be introducing additional reporting for T4 slips. The additional reporting requirements will apply to all employers and will help the CRA validate payments under CEWS, CERB and CESB. Be aware of these requirements if you prepare T4 slips for your clients or as your client asks for assistance.
Firms can be challenged by marketing at the best of times. While referrals are a good source of business, it is important to not forget about marketing. Where to begin? Accounting Today outlines five marketing priorities to help keep your firm relevant. The tips are practical and simple to implement.
Your website is the first priority identified in the article above and therefore you want to make it relevant, especially in today’s landscape of limited face-to-face meetings and working remotely. Websites are becoming increasingly valuable business tools, especially for business development. This article has some good ideas on improving your website and is worth the read.
I never thought about changing my wifi settings as I am out and about working from various locations until I read this article. Now that people are working from home or other locations, the tips on protecting your data are more relevant than ever.
Path to Implementation – CSRS 4200
November 12, 2020
November 23, 2020
Putting Ethics into Practice
December 18, 2020
I believe this will be a busy fall, continuing the busy summer we had. The more you plan for the upcoming months, the easier it will be. As always, I am here to help you save time and achieve peace of mind. Reach out anytime.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
Fall has officially arrived and I think it will be a busy one. There is a lot on the go from every aspect of running a practice. Planning engagements, practice management and professional development all seem to fall (pun intended) into this time of year. This month’s topics will help you get ready for everything that needs to get done. Read on…
The new Agreed Upon Procedures standard (CSRS 4400) has been approved and is effective for engagement terms agreed upon on or after January 1, 2022. There are many improvements to the new standard and it is consistent with other recent changes, therefore you may want to consider early adoption for upcoming AUP engagements I don’t believe the transition will be difficult in this case. A blog by CPA Canada will help you understand the new standard and its implications.
READ BLOG HERE
Last week the International Standards setters approved the new suite of quality management standards replacing ISQC1. Why do Canadian practitioners care about these new standards? We care as the AASB has exposed draft standards on the same topic to replace CSQC1. I wrote a LinkedIn article on the expected changes and the issues faced by the AASB as they consider the unique aspects of the Canadian market.
READ ARTICLE HERE
Phase one of the 2020 version of PEG released in August. Practice Aids and Volume 1 are now available on Knotia (soon to released in Jazz-it and Caseware). Changes are classified as Major, Moderate or Minor. Phase two which includes Volume 2, case studies and other content will be available in October. Highlights of the significant changes included the release of letter and practice aids related to CSRS 4200 Compilation Engagements practice aids related to CAS 540 Estimates. The What’s New Section has a good summary of all the changes.
LOG INTO KNOTIA HERE TO ACCESS THE PEG
Having a proper quality control system in place, especially with the upcoming changes, can help a firm be successful and grow. “Firms love to land new clients and keep their current clients happy. After all, acquiring new business and retaining it is the key to growth” says author Cheryl Meyer (Journal of Accountancy). Revenue growth can cause problems if a firm does not have the proper control system in place. The article includes a number of tips on implementing a solid system of quality management.
READ ARTICLE HERE
Auditors are required to obtain evidence related to the design and implementation of controls, whether or not controls are going to be relied up. This is an area where practitioners often struggle, especially in the audits of less complex entities. An article in the Journal of Accountancy outlines five missteps to avoid in the process of evaluating internal controls A good article to help you be effective and efficient.
READ ARTICLE HERE
COVID-19 related events and conditions have likely caused changes to entities’ operations and internal control further complicating design and implementation requirements. Changes in operations may result in new or changed risks, processes, and controls. Listen to this special, and practical, practitioner’s webinar from CPA Canada to learn more.
REGISTER FOR WEBINAR HERE
Professional Development Courses
Path to Implementation – CSRS 4200
October 16, 2020
October 28, 2020
November 12, 2020
November 23, 2020
Putting Ethics into Practice
November 19, 2020
December 18, 2020
Assurance and Accounting Updates
In-house offerings available. Contact me for details.
Online dates coming shortly.
How do you like the new monthly update format? I would love to hear your feedback. There are a number of new initiatives I have recently undertaken. In addition changing the format of my newsletter, I am now delivering professional development sessions online. ASK KSA PD courses are unique in nature as they are interactive and engaging and very practical. As always, I am here to help you save time and achieve peace of mind. Reach out anytime.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Professional Development; Standards Update; AUP Engagements; PEG Updates
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
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:
Practice Aids (Checklists):
Volume 1 and 2:
Volume 3: Case Studies (new Section coming)
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!!
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
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
Part III – ASNPO
CPA Canada Handbook – Assurance
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.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: CSRS 4200; Professional Development; Firm Risk Management; ASPE Standards; PSAS Standards;
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Less Complex Entities; Technology; Dealing with Clients; COVID-19 Challenges
Slowly businesses are ramping up operations, but it seems that practitioners have been busy all along. Despite the extended deadlines, many challenges have been faced, and solved, over the past few months. Standard setters also continue to be busy with interesting discussions including the potential for a new standard for the audits of less complex entities. This month’s thought leadership covers important topics as we continue all to move forward. Read on…
AASB Decision Summary – New Standard for Audits of LCEs?
Exciting news. At their June meeting, the Audit and Assurance Standards Board (AASB) provided input on the IAASB Audits of Less Complex Entities (LCE) Working Group’s proposal to start developing a separate standard on this topic. Matter discussed included the overarching principles to be used when developing a separate set of standards. The IAASB is clearly headed in the direction of setting a separate standard for the audits of LCEs which will have a significant impact on the profession.
I previously communicated that I am a member of the AASB Working Group on the Audit of Less Complex Entities providing insights and recommending solutions to the challenges faced by SMPs in auditing these types of entities. There is a long way to go but I feel we are headed in the right direction. Do you agree with me? Feel free to reach out with your views directly so I can provide further input to the Working Group and the direction we should head.
The other topic of interest at the AASB meeting included discussions on Quality Management. The IAASB project to revise standard for quality management at the firm and engagement level continue. The IAASB expects to approve the final ISQM 1, ISQM 2 and ISA 220 at its September 2020 meeting. In turn, the AASB expects to approve the Canadian equivalent at its January 2021 meeting. However there are several Canadian issues yet to resolve, the main one being if the new standards apply to compilation engagements or not. Stay tuned.
Innovation in Audit: It is not Just About Technology
Auditors love JELLY. Just Exactly Like Last Year. And to hang out with SALY. Same As Last Year. However these can limit our ability to innovate in an audit. Innovation in an audit is more than just changing technology. It is about thinking differently about challenges faced, and thinking about them before you jump into a solution. While it is important to conduct high quality audits, conducting engagements efficiently is just as important. This article from Accounting Today was a thought-provoking read for ideas in how to innovate the audit. File efficiency reviews are another great way to make changes to your engagement process. I would be happy to assist you in performing such a file review to help you avoid JELLY and SALY.
Small and Mid-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Need Small- to Mid-Sized Practitioners (SMPs)
Businesses are ramping up operations however they continue to make hard decisions about their employees and payroll along with other operating decisions. They need the support of accountants whom they know and trust. With candid and empathetic discussions and a flexible approach, SMPs can enable SMEs with the right tools to bridge the gap between crises mode and action mode. An article in Accounting Today focuses on three guiding principles as practitioners help clients navigate disruption.
Reporting and Fraud Risk Arising from Covid-19 Pose Significant Challenges
In response to the current crisis, many organization have had to quickly change working practices and protocols to enable remote working, which present an increased risk of fraud of internal controls can by bypassed as a result. These changes can create challenges for practitioners in conducting engagements. An article published by IFAC highlights the need for auditors to have increased awareness and the importance of exercising professional skepticism. This is an excellent article and well worth the read.
Tomorrow is July 1 and no fireworks this year but I am okay with that. I would rather move forward at a steady pace then take two steps forward and one step back. So, move forward we do. Please feel free to reach out at anytime with any questions you may have to help you save time and achieve peace of mind. In the meantime, enjoy the upcoming month, it is summer you know.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: ASPE Standards, CSRS 4200; SME Accounting; Auditor Considerations
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:
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Dealing with Clients, COVID-19 Support; Standards Update; Reminder
Life continues to change. With the announcements of the province opening, we will slowly move into a “new normal”. I recently read that phrase is in competition for being the highest used phrase of the year – right up there with “flattening the curve”. It will be interesting to watch in the coming months what the new normal entails and how we adapt. Working remotely, social distancing, conducting client meetings, delivering training will all evolve as we settle in. In the meantime, the focus is, and always will be, the client and how we work with them in completing engagements and providing support. This month’s update includes information on things to think about as we move into our new normal. Read on…
5 Steps for Advising Clients
There is so much information to weed through these days, emergency funding options, new working environments, government guidelines, the list goes on. After dealing with the immediacy of your own operations, supporting clients is most likely one of your top priorities. An article from the Journal of Accountancy explores five strategies to navigate advisory, and sometimes difficult, conversations with your clients to help them cope. If there is ever a time when clients needed your guidance, expertise and care, it is now. The strategies are straightforward and may give you useful ideas to help manage through this time.
Areas of Focus Due to COVID-19
Global developments relating to the current situation have impacted the work of auditors. Uncertainty and unpredictability may create risks of material misstatement that are new or heightened. Auditors have to adjust how they obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence on which to base the audit opinion amid the many challenges they are facing. IFAC has published an Alert that highlights many of the items that auditors need to focus on in a clear and concise manner. The publication refers to ISAs but Canadian auditing standards (CAS) are substantially the same so this is particularly good tool to help you assess risk and document your conclusions.
COVID-19 and Going Concern Impacts
Even though business may now be able to open, COVID-19 related event may cause a deterioration in an entity’s operating results and financial position, affecting its ability to continue as a going concern. An article from CPA Canada provides guidance on learning how to address the challenges that arise from these conditions. Whether the engagement is an audit or a review the issues are the same and must be considered.
Coping with Standards Changes
There have been some delays in the effective date for some US GAAP and IFRS standards. However, for all my research, I have seen no discussion on delays for any Canadian standards. That means throughout all this we still must be cognizant of upcoming new standards. Nothing is imminent but throughout this time we cannot forget about the future. It is a challenge to keep up. The Journal of Accountancy has tips on how to “stay the course” and deliver high quality engagements.
CPA Canada’s COVID-19 information page CPA CANADA COVID RESOURCE PAGE is a good resource for guidance on financial reporting and other issues. FRAS Canada also has an information page FRAS CANADA COVID RESOURCE PAGE although this one is a little more IFRS focussed.
I promise there will come a day when we are not talking about the pandemic and flattening the curve (although in my case, I am eating so much baking I feel like I am “fattening the curve”). In the meantime, whatever challenges you face, remember that I am here as a resource as needed. Feel free to reach out at any time. Take care and stay healthy.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: COVID-19 Support; Financial Reporting; Testing Inventory; Beneficial Ownership
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: CSRS 4200; Dealing with Clients; Questioning Techniques; Growing your Practice
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…
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
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:
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:
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.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Assessing RMM; Mandatorily Redeemable Shares; Audit Estimates; Professional Judgement; Compilation Engagements
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: 10 Great TED Talks on Leadership; Think Like Steve Jobs and Galileo; Succession Planning
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Retractable or Mandatorily Redeemable Shares; ASPE Resources; Practice Inspection Report; Pricing Client Engagements
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA,FCA
In this Update: CSRS 4200; CAS 315; Redeemable Preferred Shares; Ethical Dilemmas
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
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!!!!
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Standards Update; Public Sector Disclosures; Credit Controls & Fee Collections; Enhancing Culture
This month marked a change in both weather and standards. One can feel a bit of a nip in the air and things are finally starting to move on the standards front. Decisions have been made over this past month, and we can expect a few more next month. While most changes are not imminent, they will come quicker than we think and it will be important to plan so you can keep your practice running effectively and efficiently. Read on…
Standards Update – AASB Decisions
As noted above, decisions were made on standards over the past month. Exposure drafts were finalized, timing was discussed and next steps are under way. The following are highlights from the AASB’s (the Board) September meeting:
Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Amendment Act
A reminder to those who issue these reports. A notice went out mid-year to all publicly-funded bodies reminding these organizations that the threshold for salary disclosures increased from $50,000 to $75,000 effective January 1, 2019. In addition, the notice stated that the publicly-funded bodies are no longer required to have the compensation reports audited. One matter of interest, while the notice says the audit is no longer required, the Act still has this requirement (I am trying to follow up on this discrepancy). Make sure you talk to your clients about the new requirements and the timing of implementation.
NO LINK AS THE LETTER WENT DIRECTLY TO ORGANIZATIONS, NOT THE FIRMS – ASK FOR IT FROM YOUR CLIENTS
Enhancing Firm Credit Control and Fee Collection
I have a sense it is going to be a very busy fall. Changes in standards, fee discussions with clients, updates to quality, meeting professional development requirements – the list goes on. If you are interested in a professional development course tailored to specifically to your firm, let me know. I have a course curriculum that covers everything from standards update, performing efficient and effective engagements and ethics. My fall schedule is starting to feel up so please reach out. I am here as needed to help you save time and provide peace of mind.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Standards Updates; PEG Updates; Firm Risk Management; Pricing Client Engagements
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…
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:
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.
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:
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).
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.
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.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Less Complex Entities; Firm Risk Management; Understanding Financial Statements.
We are in the middle of summer and many of you are taking the opportunity to take some well-deserved time off. With that in mind, this month’s update is “summer-lite”. Only a few topics to reflect upon during this slower time of the year. Read on…
Less Complex Entities Discussion Paper
As mentioned in a previous update, the IAASB issued a discussion paper “Audits of Less Complex Entities: Exploring Possible Options to Address the Challenges in Applying the ISAs”. The discussion paper focuses on challenges that have been identified relating to applying the ISAs in the audits of less complex entities and possible actions that could be undertaken to address the identified challenges. Options include scalability of the current standards or even a new set of auditing standards. Because the AASB has committed to adopting the ISAs as CASs, Canadian standard setters are actively involved in this matter.
This is an important topic which may have a significant impact on the audits of small clients. Over the past few months I have participated in webinars, round table discussions and conference calls to provide input. I am preparing a formal response which will incorporate thoughts I have heard from many of you. Auditing small clients efficiently can be a challenge and there are many CASs that just do not make sense.
The IAASB is gathering as much input as they can and has issued a brief survey to obtain information directly from those practitioners who audit less complex entities. The survey has only 6 primary questions and 3 demographic questions so takes less than 5 minutes to complete. You don’t even have to read the discussion paper before taking the survey but I have included the link just in case you want to.
READ IAASB DISCUSSION PAPER HERE
Eight Steps to Establish a Firm Risk Management Program
Summer is a good time to think about monitoring, file inspections and updating your quality assurance manual. However risk management is more than just these things; it is important to establish a risk management “culture” in the firm. This becomes even more critical with the recently issued exposure draft Canadian Standards on Quality Management (see June update). IFAC published a thought-provoking article on this topic highlighting steps to establishing a risk management program along with the benefits it provides.
Understanding Reports on Financial Statements
As a practitioner you understand the differences between an audit, a review and a compilation. However there are many of your clients who may not clearly understand those differences, especially not-for-profit clients with volunteer Board members. CPA Canada issued a good publication to help clients learn about financial statements and the different levels of engagements you can provide. The publication succinctly outlines the concept of applicable financial reporting frameworks, explains the terms assurance and materiality and highlights differences between audits, reviews and compilations. This would be a good tool to provide to new Board members and other clients. One caution, the exposure draft on Compilation Engagements (see June update) most likely will change the Compilation Report in the near future.
In the above topics, I alluded to two important exposure drafts – Canadian Standard on Quality Management and Compilation Engagements. When issued these will have a big impact on your practice however for now, there are no updates but rest assured I will provide information as it is available. For now, enjoy the rest of summer and take advantage of the opportunity to catch up on matters. Whether it is monitoring, file efficiency reviews, file inspection or general consultation, I am here to assist as needed.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Summary of Upcoming Changes; Support for SMP; Common Technology Mistakes
For many, the focus for the month of June has been completing year end engagements and getting tax returns out the door. Now time to take a breathe and think forward to the next few months; as there are many upcoming changes that will have an impact on your practice, this month’s update focuses on a summary of those changes and resources to support you getting ready for them. Read on…
Summary of upcoming changes
Below are some of the current projects the standard setters are addressing. This is not a comprehensive list but rather the key ones that I think are important to small and mid-sized firms. Within each section I have provided the link to the Financial Reporting and Assurance Standards Canada (FRAS) site which includes further details and a listing of all active and completed projects.
|Standard||Status and Impact|
|CAS 315: Identifying and Assessing Risks of Material Misstatements||Exposure draft issued September 2018 and feedback being considered. Impact: Significant changes to audit approach and documentation.|
|CAS 540: Auditing Accounting Estimates||Final Handbook material issued and standards in effect for periods on or after December 15, 2019. Impact: Minimal impact unless complicated estimates in your clients financial statements.|
|CAS 700 et al: Auditor Reporting||Final Handbook material issued and standards in effect for periods on or after December 15, 2018. Impact: Now issue new auditor’s report.|
|Audits of Less Complex Entities||Discussion paper issued June 2019; response deadline August 14, 2019. Impact: Not sure on this but goal is scalability for small audits so that not as onerous as is today.|
|Quality Management||Exposure draft issued April 2019 and feedback being considered. Impact: New QAM required to address changes and compilations could now be covered by these standards.|
|CSRS 4200: Compilation Engagements||Exposure draft issued September 2018 and feedback being considered. Impact: Significant changes including documentation, accounting framework and report.|
|Public Sector Auditing Standards||Exposure draft for guidance on performance audits currently being developed. Impact: Significant changes but only if you do compliance reporting.|
|CSAE 3000/3001 et al: Assurance on Compliance with Agreements, Statutes and Regulations||Final Handbook material issued and standards in effect for periods on or after April 1, 2019. Impact: New auditor’s reports for special engagements such as compliance, public sector compensation and other government required reporting.|
|Agriculture||Exposure draft issued July 2018 and feedback being considered. Impact: Significant changes for farming clients.|
|Contributions – Revenue Recognition and Related Matters||Public outreach since January 2016 and is continuing. Impact: Not sure since a long way away from being finalized.|
I am happy to discuss any of the changes above further with you if you have additional questions.
Resource Roundup: Implementation Support for Small- and Mid-Sized Practices
Keeping up to date with standards poses unique challenges for small- to mid-sized practices (SMPs), especially as the changes are coming fast and furious (see topic above). Canadian Standards are basically now driven by what is happening with International Standards. I am here to help keep up to date on standards and will provide you updates as the changes are announced. The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) is another great sources of information and tools. To support SMPs, IFAC has developed extensive implementation support for international standards and offers an extensive suite of material. The link below is to a nice summary of available information.
12 Common Technology Mistakes You Should Avoid
Not only can it be difficult keeping up with standards, keeping up with technology creates its own challenges. A recent article in the Journal of Accountancy addressed several questions such as could your company survive a data breach or could your company withstand a server crash? The author identified 12 common technology mistakes and offers recommendations for avoiding them. I found the article very interesting and more importantly, very practical.
I hope you had a nice long weekend and were able to take advantage of the beautiful weather we had. While the summer months typically slow down, it is also a good time to ensure you are prepared for the next few months. This is a good time to undertake such activities such as planning, completing file reviews and monitoring. I have recently joined the CPA Canada PEG Task Force Committee. Over the past few years I have had conversations with many of you about the PEG and now have the opportunity to bring those views forward. Stay tuned in for future updates. I am here to support you as needed, feel free to contact me at any time.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Ethics; Rising Revenues for SMP; Succession Planning; Compliance Reporting
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…
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
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.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Exposure Drafts (Quality Management & Others); Other Information (CAS 720); auditing Less Complex Entities
April 30. Another tax season is officially passed. Knowing how busy this month can be, I wanted to keep this update light. There has been a lot recent activity by the standard setters therefore this month’s updates includes topics I will cover in more detail in the coming months as matters become more relevant but they are important enough to bring to your attention today. Read on…
Exposure Drafts on Quality Management
An exposure draft Canadian Standards for Quality Management (CSQM 1) was issued April 5, 2019. CSQM 1, along with the new Engagement Quality Reviews (CSQM 2), will replace the existing CSQC 1. Why do you care? While there are many changes in the exposure draft which I will provide details on in the next update, the biggest change is CSQM 1 will apply to all assurance and related services including compilation engagements and agreed-upon procedures engagements. CSQC 1 never applied to these types of engagements as CSQM 1 will now. CPA Canada issued an Audit and Assurance Alert further detailing these exposure drafts and the reasons for the changes.
Other Exposure Drafts
The Audit and Assurance Board is still deliberating feedback on comments received on the Exposure Drafts for Compilation Engagements (CSRS 4200), Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization (CSAE 3416) and Identifying and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement (CAS 315). Exposure Drafts for Group Audits and Agreed-Upon Procedures Engagements are being drafted. Why do you care? It is important to keep up-to-date on standards. I will provide updates and the impact as these Exposure Drafts are released, re-exposed or become effective the Handbook.
Other Information (CAS 720)
As you turn your attention back to your audit engagements, it is a good time to remind yourself of the new reporting requirements related to Other Information (CAS 720). This topic is getting a lot of attention as it is not always clear what constitutes “other information”. CPA Canada issued further guidance on other information considerations as it is not always just a formal, glossy annual report put out by the organization. Why do you care? It is a subjective area which requires discussions with management and Those Charged with Governance.
Audits of Less Complex Entities (LCE)
The audit of Less Complex Entities has been a topic for discussion for both the IAASB and Canada’s AASB over the past several years; we are finally seeing results from those discussions. This past November, I participated in an outreach session hosted by the AASB to discuss the barriers to effective and efficient audits of less complex entities. I have heard many comments of the challenges faced by small to mid-sized practitioners and was able to pass these on to the AASB directly. The results of this session will be released in a Discussion Paper shortly.
In the meantime, the IAASB has released their Discussion Paper exploring how the IAASB and others could further support auditors working in increasingly evolving environments. The IAASB is asking for feedback on their paper and I plan to respond by the deadline of September 12, 2019. Why do you care? This is an important topic for practitioners who audit smaller (or less complex) clients and more efficient and effective engagements may be the final result of these discussions. It will be interesting to see what comes next.
Lots to think about in the coming months but for now, take a breathe. Rest assured there is time to deal with all of these matters in the coming months and I am here to assist you as needed. In the meantime, enjoy the upcoming weekend.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: CRA Tax HelpLine; Compliance Reporting Standards; CPA Manitoba’s Practitioner Forum; Standards Updates
The March update is being sent this first day of April, but I promise, no April Fool’s jokes within, only a few focused topics this month. For most, April is a time for heads down to work as it is a very busy month. A few critical items to be aware are included below. Read on…
Dedicated Telephone Service – CRA Tax Help for Income Tax Service Providers
CRA is continuing their Dedicated Telephone Service (DTS) for the 2018 filing season. The DTS was a three-year pilot project started last year which offers free technical help for small or medium income tax service providers. There is a very simple registration process after which you receive a telephone number and a personal telephone access code to connect with DTS. The definition of a small to medium sized firm has expanded from the prior year. This is a good service that may help you save time.
New Compliance Reporting Standards Effective Today
In addition to an audit or review report, you may be requested to report on compliance with lease agreements, funding or debt agreements or other agreements. The new standards CSAE 3530 Attestation Engagement to Report on Compliance and CSAE 3531 Direct Engagement to Report on Compliance are effective for compliance reports dated on or after April 1, 2019. CPA Canada issued an Audit and Assurance Alert about the new requirements including understanding the difference between the two types of engagements. The report has changed so it is important to ensure you have the right processes in place to ensure the right report goes out the door.
CPA Manitoba Practitioner’s Forum
CPA Manitoba’s Practitioner Forum on May 15 (5 pm-7pm) will be facilitated by none other than yours truly. This round table event series brings together CPAs in public practice to learn and discuss relevant topics. This month’s topic is related to HR. I will be leading a discussion on attracting, retaining, developing and motivating staff. The results of a provincial salary survey will also be presented to better help you understand the competitive market. Please join me if you can.
Other Standards Updates
In researching topics for this month’s update, I perused the Financial Reporting & Assurance Canada website as I always do. Nothing of significance to report back to you as of yet. The AASB boards are still deliberating comments on the various exposure drafts including Compilation Engagements, Agreed Upon Procedures, Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization and CAS 315 Identifying and Assessing the Risk of Material Misstatement. I will provide further update on all of these when issued. The only other matter of significance was information on the fact that the International Standards Board is developing an exposure draft on standards on quality control, now being referred to as Quality Management. This means the Canadian Exposure draft is to follow shortly. When issued I will provide you a summary of the impact this may have on your practice.
One last item. Don’t forget CPA dues are payable as of today and if paid after April 15, late charges will apply. You should have received a notice from your provincial CPA body as applicable. I hope the month is a good one and not too chaotic. As you work through the month, please feel free to call with any questions you may have. I am here to help you as needed. In the meantime, happy spring!!
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Auditor Reporting Guide; Enhancing Documentation; New Review Engagement Standards; Technology
February is a month where work ramps up as we get busier and busier with clients. At times, it may seem easier to let things slide in order to just get things done and out the door but that approach has its cost in the end. This month topics will help you to ensure that you are meeting standards in an efficient and effective way. The links below provide you a number of resources to help you along the way, including how you may want to consider using technology in your practice. Read on…
Auditor Reporting Guide: Reporting Implications of Canadian Auditing Standards
Have you issued your first auditor’s report under the new standards yet? From a few I have talked to, it is not quite as straightforward as before and takes some time to get it right. CPA Canada has issued the 3rd edition of the Auditor Reporting Guide. This is a very good tool which provides guidance with respect to commonly occurring reporting circumstances. There are many illustrative reports for such things as going concern, qualifications to the opinion, emphasis and other matter paragraphs. I would be happy to consult with you if needed to ensure you get it right.
Documentation is critical in all assurance engagements. The mantra “if not documented, not done” comes up over and over again. There are simple things to keep in mind as you work through your assurance engagements files over the next few months. This short two-minute video from the Global Head of Audit Quality at Grant Thornton provides recommendations on strengthening audit quality. You may want to share this video with you staff.
Observations Regarding the New Review Engagement Standard
CSRE 2400 has been in place for a year and practitioners are now entering their second season performing engagements in accordance with the standard. CPA Canada worked with a task force of practitioners to build resources to support the effective application of the standard. In addition, they gathered observations from practice inspectors from across the country and provide reminders for practitioners in applying the standard.
Technically, Your Practice Could be Better
These days it seems that technology is top of mind whether in your personal life or in business. As practitioners it is important to keep up as the world changes. Knowing which technologies are best for your practice can be complicated, but ignoring the value technology can add to your practice carriers a heavy price in lost efficiency and opportunity. An article from AICPA addresses these issues from a financial planning practice but many of the fundamental ideas apply to practitioners.
Before sending out this monthly update, I did a quick check on the status of a number of exposure drafts including the Compilation Standard (CSRS 4200) and Assessing Risk (CAS 315). Right now the Standards Boards are deliberating feedback received so no updates as of yet. I will continue to keep you abreast of changes as they become known. In the meantime, if you have any questions on existing standards or need support, please feel free to give me a call at anytime. I am here to provide you peace of mind and save you time.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA
In this Update: Managing Fee Pressures; Better Client Meetings; Learning Mindfulness
The start of a new year brings many things to think about. I am excited to head into 2019 and have spent the last month thinking about what I hope to accomplish over the upcoming year. With the ever changing standards, working with clients, dealing with staff, there is never a shortage of things to think about. The last few updates have been very focused on standards and while I plan to keep you updated over the coming months as things evolve, this month I thought I would pass on a few tips about managing client relationships, including fee discussions – topics that are always top of mind for those in public practice. Read on…
Three Ways to Effectively Manage Fee Pressure
As you head into busy season, the focus can sometimes be “just get the work done” but it is important to not to lose sight of fee discussions with your clients – earlier rather than later. Pressure to lower fees has consistently appeared as one of the top challenges facing small to mid-sized practices (SMPs). Members of the IFAC SMP Committee discussed fee pressures with practitioners from around the world who in turn shared their experiences, tips and best practices.
Communicating Value and Quality with Price
Another good article on addressing fee pressures. Clients often seek a better price, even when they are deeply interested in the services offered. This presents a great dilemma on which the Chairman of IFAC SMP Committee addresses. Key tips are provided to use when setting fee levels and engaging in price discussions with clients.
Five Tips for Better Client Meetings
With the ever-changing standards (including the new auditor’s report) and the requirement to have in-depth discussions with your clients, it is important that you hold meetings to provide value and gain information and not just hold a meeting for the sake of meeting. Boomer Consulting has five tips for holding better client meetings and ensuring these meetings are operating at an optimal level. They state: “You want to make sure that your team and your client understand what the purpose of each meeting is and ensure that everyone is on the same page before and after the meeting takes place”.
Why Accountants Need to Learn Mindfulness
With the upcoming busy season, it is easy to get caught up in doing the work and letting other things slip away. I enjoyed reading this article highlighting the ability of mindfulness is essential for time management, productivity and the development of the soft skills needed to succeed. The AICPA CPA Insider reminds us that as accountants we learn technology and technical skills but do not necessarily take the same amount of time improving how we communicate, how we collaborate and how we deliver our services. To grow as an advisor, we need to dedicate as much time to soft skills as we do to technical skills.
A few final short snappers. Today is the reporting deadline for CPD requirements. Don’t forget to submit your hours. As well, as you head into the next few months, remember to issue the correct auditor’s report – and ensure the wording is correct if it is the new report you are issuing. And finally, anytime you encounter an assurance or accounting issue, remember I am here to assist you as needed. But most importantly, try and stay warm!! The weather has to break soon.
Kirsten S. Albo, FCPA, FCA