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Oct 20, 2008
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IAASB Clarity Project Nears Completion; Board Urges Focus on Implementation Issues
The staff of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB), an independent standard-setting board under the auspices of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), has released a Clarity Project Update to help those with responsibilities relating to audits of financial statements set in motion plans to ensure that audits are effectively carried out under the clarified International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) when the standards come into effect.
In December 2008 the IAASB expects to complete its 18-month program to comprehensively review all ISAs and International Standards on Quality Control (ISQCs) to improve their clarity and, thereby, their consistent application. The standards approved in December are scheduled to be submitted to the Public Interest Oversight Board (PIOB) in February 2009, and if cleared by the PIOB, the program will be brought to a final conclusion then. The completion of this program, known as the IAASB Clarity Project, will result in 36 ISAs drafted in accordance with the IAASB's Clarity conventions subject to a single statement of authority, which will come into effect for audits of financial statements for periods beginning on or after December 15, 2009.
"In most cases of annual financial statements for a full 12 month year, the clarified ISAs will apply to audits of financial statements for periods that end after December 15, 2010. This may seem a long way off, but there is much to be done to ensure that implementation of the standards is smooth and that audits will be effectively carried out in accordance with them," states John Kellas, IAASB Chairman. Mr. Kellas continued, "All of the ISAs include improvements to enhance their understandability, and a significant number of them also include, as a result of their revision, substantive new requirements that aim to improve practice in a variety of respects. Accordingly, national standards setters, legislators and others involved in setting standards, IFAC members and associates, regulators, and accounting firms need to take such steps as are necessary for effective implementation, including national adoption, translation, amendment of manuals and processes and training. I urge everyone, therefore, to get ahead with preparations to ensure that implementation of the clarified standards is a success and that their benefits are achieved from the start."
This latest Clarity Project Update indicates the status of the clarified ISAs and clarified ISQC 1 as of October 2008 and where these documents can be accessed on the IAASB website. This staff report also provides an overview of the main changes to the ISAs arising from the Clarity Project, and highlights some of the matters to be considered as jurisdictions implement the clarified standards. It also lists the clarified standards published to date. The update may be downloaded from the Resources section of the IAASB website (http://www.ifac.org/IAASB/).
The IAASB plans to publish the set of clarified ISAs in IFAC's 2009 Handbook of International Standards on Auditing and Assurance, expected to be released in April 2009.
About the IAASB and IFAC
The objective of the IAASB is to serve the public interest by setting high quality auditing and assurance standards and by facilitating the convergence of international and national standards, thereby enhancing the quality and uniformity of practice throughout the world and strengthening public confidence in the global auditing and assurance profession. The Public Interest Oversight Board oversees the activities of the IAASB and, as one element of that oversight, establishes its due process and working procedures.
IFAC is the global organization for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. IFAC is comprised of 157 members and associates in 123 countries and jurisdictions, representing more than 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry and commerce. In addition to setting international auditing and assurance standards through the IAASB, IFAC, through its independent standard-setting boards, sets international ethics, education, and public sector accounting standards. It also issues guidance to encourage high quality performance by professional accountants in business.