Decision Summary – September 13-14, 2018

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)

Auditor Reporting

The AASB decided to amend CAS 700, Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements. Auditors will be required to communicate key audit matters in the auditor’s report for audits of complete sets of general purpose financial statements of entities listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), other than entities that are required to comply with National Instrument 81-106, Investment Fund Continuous Disclosure. Such requirements would be effective for periods ending on or after December 15, 2020. The Board will approve the amendments at its next meeting.

In addition, the AASB decided to develop an exposure draft to address the applicability of requirements to communicate key audit matters for investment funds and all other listed entities, including TSX-venture issuers. The Board expects to issue this exposure draft in early 2019.

Quality Control

The AASB 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 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, and International Standard on Auditing (ISA) 220, Quality Control for an Audit of Financial Statements, including the:
    • scalability of requirements and application material;
    • interrelationship of components within the system of quality management; and
    • concept of public interest, professional skepticism and professional judgment; and
  • develop a new standard, ISQC 2, Engagement Quality Review, including:
    • the objective of the standard; and
    • whether engagement quality reviews should be required for entities with significant public interest.

The IAASB is expected to approve exposure drafts of ISQC 1, ISQC 2 and ISA 220 in December 2018. The AASB would approve Canadian exposure drafts shortly thereafter.

Assurance and Related Services Standards (Other Than CASs)

Agreed-upon Procedures

The AASB provided input to the CPA Canada nominee on the IAASB’s project to revise International Standard on Related Services (ISRS) 4400 (Revised), Agreed-Upon Procedures Engagements, including:

  • the role of professional judgment in an agreed-upon procedures engagement;
  • objectivity and independence of a practitioner performing an agreed-upon procedures engagement;
  • the use of the work of a practitioner’s expert in an agreed-upon procedures engagement; and
  • matters related to the explanatory memo, exposure period and effective date of the standard.

The IAASB is expected to approve an exposure draft of ISRS 4400 (Revised) at its September 2018 meeting. The AASB would approve a Canadian exposure draft shortly thereafter.

Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization

The AASB discussed issues related to its project to revise Canadian Standard on Assurance Engagements (CSAE) 3416, Reporting on Controls at a Service Organization, and the exposure draft highlights memorandum. Issues discussed included:

  • the consistency between revised CSAE 3416 and other subject-matter-specific standards; and
  • areas where proposed CSAE 3416 requirements differ from those in the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants equivalent standard, AT-C Section 320, Reporting on an Examination of Controls at a Service Organization Relevant to User Entities’ Internal Control Over Financial Reporting.

The AASB expects to approve an exposure draft at its October 2018 meeting.


Assurance over Key Performance Indicators

The AASB discussed results from a roundtable discussion and shared its views with the Chair of the Accounting Standards Board (AcSB) on the AcSB’s “Draft Framework for Reporting Performance Measures.” Issues discussed included:

  • current and perceived demand for these engagements;
  • possible scope options for an assurance engagement; and
  • the Framework’s effect on stakeholders’ expectations of assurance

In addition, the AASB discussed next steps in addressing the challenges of providing assurance on performance measures.

Audits of Less Complex Entities

The AASB discussed the IAASB’s project proposal and developments related to audits of less complex entities, including:

  • the project scope;
  • Canadian outreach to be performed; and
  • the project timeline.

CPA Canada’s Professional Programs Department gave a presentation about the Professional Engagement Guide’s development.

IAASB Future Strategy and Work Plan

The AASB provided input to the CPA Canada nominee on issues related to the IAASB’s proposed strategic direction arising from responses to its 2018 strategy survey. These issues included:

  • the changing reporting needs of stakeholders;
  • the timeliness of standard-setting projects; and
  • technological developments by auditors and the entities they audit.

AASB Planning

The AASB discussed proposed revisions to its Terms of Reference and reviewed a new Statement of Operating Procedures.