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Agreed-upon procedure (AUP) engagements are widely used in many jurisdictions. Demand for AUP engagements continues to grow, particularly related to needing increased accountability around funding and grants. Changes in regulation have also driven increased demand for AUP engagements, especially from smaller entities, as increased audit exemption thresholds in some jurisdictions prompt stakeholders to look for alternative services to an audit or other assurance engagements.
In December 2019, the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) approved International Standard on Related Services (ISRS) 4400 (Revised), Agreed-Upon Procedures Engagements to respond to this growing demand.
In an AUP engagement, the practitioner performs procedures that have been agreed upon by the practitioner and the engaging party. The practitioner communicates the procedures performed and the related findings in the AUP report. The engaging party and other intended users consider for themselves the appropriateness of the AUP and findings reported by the practitioner and draw their own conclusions from the work performed by the practitioner.
ISRS 4400 (Revised) promotes consistency in the performance of AUP engagements and intends to address public interest issues relevant to AUP engagements, for example:
- Responding to needs of stakeholders—the scope is broadened to include both financial and non-financial matters;
- Professional judgment—new requirement and application material on the role of professional judgment in an AUP engagement;
- Independence—new requirements and application material on disclosures in the AUP report relating to the practitioner’s independence;
- Engagement acceptance and continuance considerations—new requirements and application material addressing conditions for engagement acceptance and continuance in an AUP engagement;
- Use of a practitioner’s expert—new requirements and application material to address using the work of a practitioner’s expert in an AUP engagement; and
- AUP report restrictions—new application material on the practitioner’s considerations if they wish to place restrictions on the AUP report.
The revised ISRS will be effective for AUP engagements for which the terms of engagement are agreed on or after January 1, 2022. For engagements covering multiple years, practitioners may wish to update the terms of engagement so that the AUP engagements will be conducted in accordance with the revised standard.
Other Resources That Can Help You Get Ready for Our AUP Standard
With the revised AUP standard coming into effect soon, these two resources from IAASB and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), can help you get ready:
- IAASB’s ISRS 4400 (Revised) Fact Sheet, which includes a high-level overview of significant changes, to help you navigate and apply the standard.
- IFAC’s Agreed-Upon Procedures Engagements, which outlines what an AUP engagement is, identifies the benefits to clients of offering such services, and explains when an AUP engagement is appropriate. It also includes examples of financial and non-financial subject matters, six short case studies with example procedures that might be applied, and two illustrative AUP reports.