Clarity Center Project Overview
In serving the public interest, the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) sets high-quality international auditing and assurance standards. The IAASB recognizes that standards need to be understandable, clear, and capable of consistent application. These aspects of clarity serve to enhance the quality and uniformity of practice worldwide.
In 2004, the IAASB began a comprehensive program to enhance the clarity of its International Standards on Auditing (ISAs). This program involved the application of new drafting conventions to all ISAs, either as part of a substantive revision or through a limited redrafting, to reflect the new conventions and matters of clarity generally.
On February 27, 2009, the Clarity Project reached its completion when the Public Interest Oversight Board approved the due process for the last several clarified ISAs. Auditors worldwide will now have access to 36 newly updated and clarified ISAs and a clarified International Standard on Quality Control (ISQC). A complete history of the Clarity Project can be found here.
Changes Resulting from the Clarity Project
Improvements arising from the Clarity Project broadly compromise the following:
Auditors and others should look to ISA 200, Overall Objectives of the Independent Auditor and the Conduct of an Audit in Accordance with International Standards on Auditing, for assistance in understanding the purpose and scope of an audit. This ISA sets out how the objectives, requirements, and guidance in all ISAs are to be understood.
- Identifying the auditor's overall objectives when conducting an audit in accordance with ISAs;
- Setting an objective in each ISA and establishing the auditor's obligation in relation to that objective;
- Clarifying the obligations imposed on auditors by the requirements of the ISAs and the language used to communicate such requirements;
- Eliminating any possible ambiguity about the requirements an auditor needs to fulfill; and
- Improving the overall readability and understandability of the ISAs through structural and drafting improvements.
All clarified ISAs will be effective for audits of financial statements for periods beginning on or after December 15, 2009. The publication, Effective Date for IAASB's Clarified International Standards on Auditing, provides the rationale for determining the effective date, a link to the timetable for the project, and important considerations regarding implementation.
The effective date balances the need for those using the standards to have sufficient time to translate and implement them, with the desire that users of financial statements should benefit from them as soon as possible.
The IAASB has agreed, subject to any unforeseen circumstances, not to issue any additional auditing standards that would become effective in the next two years. This responds to requests the IAASB has received from stakeholders for a period of stability in the standards, as jurisdictions focus on the task of implementing the clarified ISAs and redrafted ISQC 1.