Supporting International Standards

IAASB Undertakes Post-Implementation Review of its Revised Auditor Reporting Standards

Kalina Shukarova Savovska, Armand Kotze | October 7, 2020

The auditor’s report is the key deliverable communicating the results of the audit process. In response to calls from investors and other users of audited financial statements for more informative and relevant auditor’s reports and for greater transparency into the audit, in January 2015 the IAASB issued revised Auditor Reporting standards, with an effective date of periods ending on or after December 15, 2016. The key changes aimed at enhancing the communicative value and relevance of the revised auditor’s report included:


Enhancements
Made

For listed entities or those required by law or regulation

(voluntary application allowed for entities other than listed entities)

  • A new section in the auditor’s report to communicate key audit matters (KAM). KAM are those matters that, in the auditor's professional judgment, were of most significance in the audit of the current period financial statements.
  • Disclosure of the name of the engagement partner.
For all audits
  • Opinion section required to be presented first, followed by the Basis for Opinion section, unless law or regulation prescribe otherwise.
  • Enhanced auditor reporting on going concern including:
    • A description of the respective responsibilities of management and the auditor for going concern;
    • A separate section of the auditor’s report, under the heading "Material Uncertainty Related to Going Concern," when a material uncertainty exists and is adequately disclosed in the financial statements; and
    • A new requirement to challenge the adequacy of disclosures for "close calls,” in the context of the requirements of the applicable financial reporting framework, when events or conditions are identified that may cast significant doubt on an entity's ability to continue as a going concern.
  • An affirmative statement about the auditor’s independence and fulfillment of relevant ethical responsibilities, with disclosure of the jurisdiction of origin of those requirements or reference to the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants’ International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (Including International Independence Standards).
  • An enhanced description of the auditor’s responsibilities and key features of an audit.

 


Other information comprises financial and non-financial information in the annual report, other than the financial statements and the auditor’s report thereon. When other information is included in the annual report, the auditor’s report includes an Other Information section, which is required to include a statement that management is responsible for the other information, identify the other information, clarify that the auditor’s opinion does not cover the other information, provide a description of the auditor’s responsibilities, and to either describe any uncorrected material misstatement of the other information or state that the auditor has nothing to report.Together with the new and revised auditor reporting standards and with the same effective date, the IAASB also issued a revised standard addressing the auditor’s responsibilities related to other information, which included responsibilities to communicate certain matters in the auditor’s report.

The intended benefits of the auditor reporting revisions described above included:

  • Enhanced communication between auditors and investors, as well as those charged with governance
  • Increased user confidence in audit reports and financial statements
  • Increased transparency, audit quality, and enhanced information value
  • Increased attention by management and financial statement preparers to disclosures referenced in the auditor's report (through the KAM section)
  • Renewed auditor focus on matters to be reported that could result in an increase in professional skepticism
  • Enhanced financial reporting in the public interest

Given the significance of the revised Auditor Reporting standards, and the importance of improving communication between auditors and users of auditor’s reports, the IAASB committed to undertake a post-implementation review of those standards. The post-implementation review was launched in January 2020, and IAASB published a Project Update providing information relevant to the post-implementation review.

The principal objective of the post-implementation review is to understand whether the standards are being consistently understood and implemented in a manner that achieves the IAASB’s intended purpose in developing them so that the IAASB can determine what possible further actions, if any, should be undertaken. Hearing from users of auditor’s reports is an essential part of the post-implementation review.

As part of the post-implementation review, the IAASB is now seeking input through a Auditor Reporting Stakeholder Survey. The IAASB is interested in perspectives about various matters related to the implementation of the new and revised auditor reporting standards, how practical challenges and concerns are being addressed, and whether there is global demand for additional information in the auditor’s report to improve transparency about the audit. The IAASB also would like to further understand whether there is a global need for wider application of reporting KAM in the auditor’s report, or to name the engagement partner for entities that are not listed.

This online Auditor Reporting Stakeholder Survey is open until November 23, 2020. All interested stakeholders are invited to participate in this global request for input. Stakeholders also are encouraged to share the online survey with their respective networks in their jurisdictions that engage with auditors or use auditor reports.

 

Kalina Shukarova Savovska

Principal, International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB)

Kalina Shukarova Savovska is a Principal of the IAASB. She is currently working on several IAASB projects, including the Auditor Reporting Post-Implementation Review, Audits of Less Complex Entities and the Complexity, Understandability, Scalability and Proportionality project. She had previously worked as Senior Financial Management Specialist, with the Centre for Financial Reporting Reform (CFRR), The World Bank, supporting activities involving accounting education and capacity building, providing policy advice on corporate financial reporting reform and the development of the accounting and auditing profession, with a primary focus on auditing standards. Before, Kalina was also an Executive Director with Ernst and Young specializing in assurance. See more by Kalina Shukarova Savovska

Armand Kotze

Analyst, International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB)

Armand Kotze is an Analyst with the IAASB. He is supports the IAASB and senior technical staff on various projects and currently focusing on IAASB projects, including the Auditor Reporting Post-Implementation Review and ISA 600 (Revised) on Group Audits. He had previously worked in assurance services with Deloitte in South Africa, and in the United States of America in the New York office, specializing in the financial services industry and REIT’s.

 
 

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