This summary of decisions of the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AASB) has been prepared for information purposes only. Decisions reported are tentative and reflect only the current status of discussions on projects and other matters, which might change after further deliberations by the AASB. Decisions to publish exposure draft and Handbook material are final only after a formal voting process.
Canadian Auditing Standards (CASs)
Auditing Accounting Estimates
The Board provided input to the CPA Canada nominee on the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) on issues related to the IAASB’s project to revise ISA 540, Auditing Accounting Estimates, Including Fair Value Accounting Estimates, and Related Disclosures. Key issues discussed included:
- scalability of the requirements for simple and complex estimates, including appropriateness of examples;
- requirements related to exercising professional skepticism;
- requirements related to documentation; and
- the proposed effective date for the standard.
The IAASB expects to approve revised ISA 540 in June 2018. The AASB plans to approve the Canadian equivalent standard by the end of 2018.
The Board discussed issues related to implementing the new auditor reporting standards and the significant challenges in preparing a combined U.S. and Canadian auditors report for 2018 and subsequent years. These challenges are due to many differences between the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s (PCAOB) standards released in June 2017 and the CASs. The Board deliberated whether to make any changes to the CASs to facilitate a combined auditor’s report; in particular, to address key requirements related to:
- disclosure of the engagement partner’s name in the auditor’s report;
- more extensive disclosures about management’s and the auditor’s responsibilities, as well as the location of this information; and
- reporting of other information.
The Board compared various options for creating a combined U.S. and Canadian auditor’s report and their implications. The Board also considered the challenges of complying with reporting requirements in CAS 720, The Auditor’s Responsibilities Relating to Other Information. The Board will continue to discuss these and other issues at future meetings.
Identifying and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement
The Board provided input to the CPA Canada nominee on the IAASB on issues related to the IAASB’s project to amend ISA 315 (Revised), Identifying and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement through Understanding the Entity and Its Environment, including:
- the inclusion of introductory paragraphs;
- the definition of inherent risk factors; and
- requirements related to identifying and assessing the risks of material misstatement, including a separate assessment of inherent and control risks.
The IAASB expects to approve an exposure draft of revised ISA 315 in June 2018. The Board anticipates approving a Canadian exposure draft shortly thereafter.
The Board provided input to the CPA Canada nominee on the IAASB on issues related to the IAASB’s project to revise International Standard on Quality Control (ISQC) 1, Quality Control for Firms that Perform Audits and Reviews of Financial Statements, and Other Assurance and Related Services Engagements. Key issues discussed included:
- the components of firm culture that impact quality;
- the proposed ordering of components in the standard;
- the monitoring and remediation process, including how practitioners from smaller firms could implement the requirements;
- requirements addressing the firm’s technology, including whether technology developed by the firm or obtained from an external provider contributes to quality of services the firm provides; and
- the overall length of the standard, including whether certain appendix material could be removed.
The IAASB is expected to approve an exposure draft of ISQC 1 in September 2018. The Board will approve a Canadian exposure draft shortly thereafter. The Board also discussed whether it should conduct targeted stakeholder outreach before the exposure draft is released to identify and discuss Canadian specific issues. The Board will continue to discuss these and other issues at future meetings.
Assurance and Related Services Standards (Other Than CASs)
Auditor’s Consent to the Use of the Auditor’s Report in Connection with Designated Documents
The Board unanimously approved an exposure draft of Section 7170, Auditor's Consent to the Use of the Auditor's Report in Connection with a Designated Document. Section 7170 is being amended to include certain material from Section 7500, Auditor’s Consent to the Use of the Auditor’s Report in Connection with Designated Documents. The Board expects to issue the exposure draft in April 2018, with a comment deadline of July 2018.
The Board discussed issues related to its project to revise Section 9200, Compilation Engagements, including:
- the standard’s scope;
- whether the practitioner should disclose the basis of accounting, and, if so, how;
- requirements dealing with the practitioner’s knowledge of the entity; and
- guidance on compiling the financial information.
The Board anticipates approving an exposure draft of the revised standard at its June 2018 meeting.
The Board reviewed and approved limited revisions to AuG-18, Criteria for Reports Issued Under Subsection 295(5) of “an Act Respecting Trust Companies and Savings Companies” in Québec. The revisions are limited to:
- changing references from Section 5800, Special Reports – Introduction, and Section 5815, Special Reports – Audit Reports on Compliance with Agreements, Statutes and Regulations to Canadian Standard on Assurance Engagements (CSAE) 3001, Direct Engagements; and
- revising the illustrative report to reflect reporting requirements in CSAE 3001.
The Board determined that exposure of the revisions is not required based on the Board’s exposure criteria and feedback received from the report’s primary user. The revisions will be effective once issued, and are expected to be included in a Handbook update in mid-2018.
The Board discussed the process to review AASB’s Terms of Reference and the revisions needed due to the appointment of a part-time Chair and other matters. The Board delegated the review of the Terms of Reference to its Steering Committee. Proposed changes will be considered by the Board at a future meeting.
The Board received an update on its annual-plan activity to conduct a post-implementation review on CSRS 4460, Reports on Supplementary Matters Arising from an Audit or a Review Engagement. The Board discussed steps in the post-implementation review process. The Board reviewed the draft consultation paper, including questions, which will be used to collect information on CSRS 4460 implementation issues.
The Board also discussed potential improvements to its process for providing feedback on IAASB projects. The Board expressed satisfaction with the time allocated to international topics at its meetings and the level of feedback provided to the CPA Canada nominee on the IAASB. The Board instructed staff to explore improvements to agenda papers so key issues can be easily highlighted and Board members alerted of recommended positions. The Board will continue to consider process improvements as it reviews its key activities.