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The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) has published a survey consultation, The IAASB’s Work Plan for 2017‒2018 and Continuing Relevance of Its Strategic Objectives. Feedback to this consultation will assist the board in evaluating its priorities for 2017–2018 and allocating its resources—a full-time Chairman supported by a 17-person volunteer board and ten-person technical staff—in the best way possible.

Extensive outreach and consultation, including the IAASB’s recent Invitation to Comment (ITC) on matters relating to professional skepticism, quality control, and group audits, has helped confirm the IAASB’s views that it was already addressing the most pertinent topics in the public interest.

The IAASB is, therefore, prioritizing standard setting in relation to the fundamental topics of accounting estimates, professional skepticism, quality control, risk assessment, and group audits—while at the same time, actively debating the implications for practitioners of developments in data analytics, integrated reporting, and emerging forms of external reporting. These topics will form the majority of the IAASB’s agenda in 2017‒2018.

The IAASB and its Consultative Advisory Group have considered a number of other topics—highlighted in the survey—that could warrant IAASB attention. Respondents are asked for their views on how these other topics should be prioritized, recognizing that much of the board’s current standard-setting efforts will carry on into 2017 and beyond unless the IAASB decides to modify its current work plan. Once the priority topics identified above are completed in the latter part of the work plan period, these other topics, in order of priority as identified by the IAASB’s stakeholders, may come onto the board’s agenda subject to other competing priorities at that time.

The survey has been designed to allow respondents to highlight key priorities or, alternatively, to note whether certain topics are less relevant—as this will be helpful to the IAASB in deciding whether its focus should change from any of its current priorities to those more relevant from a public interest perspective. If stakeholders recommend that any topics in the current agenda be replaced, they should identify which specific topics and why.

Recognizing that it will soon be at the midpoint of its five-year strategy, the IAASB would also like to understand whether its current strategic initiatives remain appropriate given its mandate. Therefore, as part of this consultation, the IAASB is also asking stakeholders whether anything in the external environment indicates a need to change course or reprioritize any of its strategic initiatives.

The survey will be open for responses through September 30, 2016, and must be submitted using the Survey Gizmo link. A PDF version of the survey has been provided to assist organizations that may need to consult internally in preparing their response before submitting it electronically. The IAASB is looking forward to hearing from a wide range of its global stakeholders.

Beverley Bahlmann

Beverley Bahlmann is a former director at the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (2011-2022) working on a variety of projects, including the fraud, going concern, and audits of less complex entities. Previously, Ms. Bahlmann worked for 15 years in a technical and training role in audit firms in Australia, the UK and South Africa. She is a member of the Australian and South African Institutes of Chartered Accountants. 

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