Canada: Technical Bulletin - April 2015 Part 2

2. ASSURANCE

Pronouncement Effective for Reviews of Interim Financial Statements for Interim Periods of Fiscal Years Beginning On or After December 15, 2014

Section 7060, Auditor Review of Interim Financial Statements

Focus of the new standard is consistent with that of Section 7050, which this standard replaces, to assist the audit committee in discharging its responsibilities with respect to interim financial statements that are to be issued under the provisions of securities legislation.

Section 7060 contains requirements with respect to:

  • agreeing to terms of engagement with both management and the audit committee;
  • inquiries relating to fraud, illegal acts, and non-compliance with provisions of laws and regulations;
  • procedures relating to going concern;
  • accumulation and evaluation of misstatements;
  • responses to discovery of a material misstatement subsequent to the issuance of the auditor's interim review report;
  • content and extent of documentation;
  • determination of materiality;
  • identification of the risks of material misstatement and design and performance of procedures to address the identified risks;
  • the auditor's response when he or she becomes aware of a misrepresentation in the interim management discussion and analysis;
  • the date of management representation; and
  • communication of the effect of accumulated misstatements to management and the audit committee.

Pronouncement Effective for Reports Dated On or After April 1, 2016

CSRS 4460 - Reports on Supplementary Matters Arising from an Audit or a Review Engagement

The development of CSRS 4460 was undertaken by the AASB to address an increasing trend by various third parties, including regulators, to place responsibility on the practitioner to report on matters beyond the scope of the audit or review of an entity's financial statements. Such matters are relevant to the third party, and may have come to the attention of the practitioner when performing the audit or review. These matters are referred to as "supplementary matters".

This new Canadian Standard on Related Services deals with engagements to report on supplementary matters to a third party and sets out requirements related to accepting the engagement, including circumstances when acceptance is prohibited, performing the engagement and reporting, including the content of the practitioner's report.

Revisions to Independence Standards

The revisions are based on the final report of the Independence Task Force (ITF) of CPA Canada's Public Trust Committee. A number of changes have been made in order that the Rules be no less stringent than the requirements of the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (Code) issued by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants, unless it is determined that a particular provision is either not in the public interest or it is prohibited by law or regulation.

The changes take effect for assurance engagements in respect of reporting periods commencing after December 15, 2014.

Recently Issued Documents for Comment

Auditor's Consent to the Use of a Report of the Auditor Included in an Offering Document

This ED was issued by the AASB in March 2015.  The primary objective of the proposed amendments is to address the requirements of stock exchanges (recognized by securities regulatory authorities in Canada) for the auditor's consent to include certain statements. In addition, the AASB is proposing a number of amendments to correct an oversight in the previous drafting of Section 7150, and to improve the clarity of the Section.

The AASB is proposing to add certain paragraphs to acknowledge that a stock exchange recognized by a securities regulatory authority in Canada may request a written consent addressed to it that is similar to the one addressed to a Canadian securities regulator. In addition, to further help avoid the statements in the consent being misinterpreted as providing moderate assurance on the offering document, proposed paragraph requires that the consent addressed to the stock exchange include a restriction on use of the consent to the stock exchange.

The consent addressed to a Canadian securities regulator currently does not contain a restriction of use. The AASB is not proposing any changes to the consent addressed to a Canadian securities regulator as the wording of the consent is required by Canadian securities legislation.

Given the additional requirement regarding a restriction on use for a consent provided to the stock exchange, proposed paragraph explains that the consent to the stock exchange is issued separately from that issued to the securities regulator. This means that addressing the auditor's consent to both Canadian securities regulators and the stock exchange would not be appropriate.

Comment period ends on May 1, 2015.

Association

This ED was issued by the AASB in March 2015, proposing to issue Canadian Standard on Association (CSOA) 5000, Association, to replace Association, Section 5020.  The fundamental principles underlying proposed CSOA 5000 are consistent with those underlying Section 5020. However, certain aspects of proposed CSOA 5000 may differ significantly from some practitioners' interpretations of Section 5020, including the following:

  • scope;
  • use of the practitioner's name or communication in connection with accompanying information:

    • obtaining an understanding of the intended use of consent;
    • obtaining a basis to consent to the use of the practitioner's name or communication in connection with accompanying information;
    • material misstatement of accompanying information; and
    • communicating the practitioner's involvement with accompanying information or, when applicable, communicating there has been no involvement;
  • use of the practitioner's communication in another language:

    • becoming aware of the use of the practitioner's communication in another language;
    • obtaining a basis to consent to the use of the practitioner's communication in another language; and
    • notification if the practitioner does not consent to the use of the practitioner's communication in another language;
  • becoming aware of information to which the practitioner had attached a communication that has been subsequently issued without the practitioner's communication; and
  • issuing consent if the practitioner has expressed an adverse conclusion or disclaimed a conclusion.

Comment period ends on July 10, 2015.

Proposed Revisions to Independence Standards

The Independence Task Force (ITF) of CPA Canada's Public Trust Committee has developed the proposed revisions to address recent amendments issued by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) in relation to breaches of the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (Code) and approach related to the impact that contingent fees charged to an assurance client have on independence.

Breaches

Under existing provisions, an inadvertent breach of an independence provision would generally not impair independence, provided the firm had appropriate quality control policies and procedures in place to promote independence and, once discovered, the breach was corrected promptly and any necessary safeguards were applied.

The ITF agreed that it was in the public interest that the CPA profession's standard contain provisions addressing a breach of an independence standard, such provisions should address all breaches, whether inadvertent or not, all breaches should be reported to the audit committee and the timing of communication should provide flexibility for less significant breaches.

Moreover, all breaches should be subject to detailed analysis and documentation of the threats caused by the breach and whether safeguards should be applied to ensure the public accountant remains objective, or whether the assurance engagement should be terminated or a previously issued report should be withdrawn.

Contingent Fees

Current rules prohibit the provision of an assurance engagement on a contingent fee basis but do not address the provision of non-assurance services to an assurance client on a contingent fee basis.  The IESBA Code, in addition to prohibiting the provision of an assurance engagement on a contingent fee basis, prohibits:

  • A firm from providing a non-assurance service on a contingent fee basis to an assurance client if the fee charged is material, or is expected to be material to the firm, and if the outcome of the non-assurance service, and therefore the amount of the fee, is dependent on a future or contemporary judgment related to the audit; and
  • A network firm from providing a non-assurance service on a contingent fee basis if the network firm participates in a significant part of the audit and the fee is, or is expected to be, material to the network firm.

The ITF agreed that it was in the public interest to adopt these requirements. Therefore, the proposed changes state that a firm would not be independent if it provided an assurance service on a contingent fee basis, and adopt the IESBA provisions regarding non-assurance services provided to an assurance client on a contingent fee basis.

Comment period ends on May 15, 2015.

Changes for Reporting on Special Purpose Financial Statements

In January 2015, the IAASB released proposals to enhance auditor reporting on special purpose financial statements.  The ED includes changes proposed to ISA 800, Special Considerations—Audits of Financial Statements Prepared in Accordance with Special Purpose Frameworks, and ISA 805, Special Considerations—Audits of Single Financial Statements and Specific Elements, Accounts or Items of a Financial Statement.

The IAASB has amended ISA 800 and ISA 805 to provide guidance on how the enhancements to the auditor's report issued in January 2015 would apply in audits of special purpose financial statements. These amendments are limited to auditor reporting and are not intended to substantively change the underlying premise of these engagements in accordance with the extant ISAs.

The AASB, following the process of adoption the ISAs as CASs, issued a Canadian ED in March 2015.  The AASB proposes no Canadian amendments to the proposed revised ISAs.

Comment period ended on March 31, 2015 relating to the AASB's exposure draft and ends on April 22, 2015 relating to the IAASB's exposure draft. 

Current Status of Documents Previously Issued for Comment

New and Revised Auditor Reporting Standards and Related Conforming Amendments

In January 2015, the IAASB issued the new and revised Auditor Reporting standards, which comprise:

  • ISA 700 (Revised), Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements;
  • New ISA 701, Communicating Key Audit Matters in the Independent Auditor's Report;
  • SA 705 (Revised), Modifications to the Opinion in the Independent Auditor's Report;
  • ISA 706 (Revised), Emphasis of Matter Paragraphs and Other Matter Paragraphs in the Independent Auditor's Report;
  • ISA 570 (Revised), Going Concern;
  • ISA 260 (Revised), Communication with Those Charged with Governance; and
  • Conforming amendments to other ISAs.

Key enhancements introduced by the new and revised standards:

Mandatory for audits of financial statements of listed entities, voluntary for entities other than listed entities:

  • New section to communicate key audit matters (KAM). KAM are those matters that, in the auditor's judgment, were of most significance in the audit of the current-period financial statements.
  • Disclosure of the name of the engagement partner, with a "harm's way" exemption.

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 (GC), including:

    • Description of the respective responsibilities of management and the auditor for GC;
    • A separate section when a material uncertainty exists, and is adequately disclosed, under the heading "Material Uncertainty Related to Going Concern"; and
    • New requirement to challenge adequacy of disclosures for "close calls" in view 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 GC.
  • 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' Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants.
  • Enhanced description of the responsibilities of the auditor and key features of an audit, together with the provision that certain components of this description may be presented in an appendix to the auditor's report or, where law, regulation or national auditing standards expressly permit, by reference in the auditor's report to a website of an appropriate authority.

The AASB expects to issue new and revised standards in Q3 of 2015.

Addressing Disclosures in the Audit of Financial Statements

This exposure draft was issued by the IAASB in May 2014, aiming to clarify expectations of auditors when auditing financial statement disclosures.  The proposals include new guidance on considerations relevant to disclosures—from when the auditor plans the audit and assesses the risks of material misstatement, to when the auditor evaluates misstatements and forms an opinion on the financial statements.

The proposed changes are as follows:

  • To clarify that the definition of financial statements in the ISAs includes all disclosures.
  • To highlight that it is beneficial for auditors to agree with management about their responsibilities relating to the preparation of disclosures, as well as providing access to information necessary for audit purposes.
  • To add emphasis for auditors to consider disclosures when assessing the risk of misstatement arising from fraud.
  • To encourage auditors to discuss matters relating to disclosures and the financial statements early in the audit process.
  • To focus auditors on the planning considerations related to disclosures earlier in the audit process.
  • To assist auditors with more effectively and consistently identifying and assessing the risks of material misstatement in disclosures.
  • To clarify that the nature of potential misstatements in disclosures is also relevant to the design of audit procedures to address the risks of material misstatement.
  • To assist auditors with more effectively responding to the risks of material misstatement in disclosures.
  • To clarify that misstatements in disclosures are accumulated, and the effect of uncorrected misstatements, both individually and in aggregate, are to be considered in light of the financial statements as a whole.
  • To provide guidance for the audit procedures when evaluating the presentation of the financial statements, including whether fair presentation has been achieved (if applicable).

The AASB issued a related Canadian exposure draft in June 2014 and proposes no Canadian amendments to the proposed revised ISAs.

The IAASB is proposing that the effective date for the revised ISAs be aligned with the effective date for the revisions arising from the auditor reporting project and the project to revise ISA 720, The Auditor's Responsibilities Relating to Other Information in Documents Containing Audited Financial Statements. The revised ISAs are expected to be effective approximately 12 to 15 months after the issuance of the revised ISAs, the new and revised ISAs resulting from the auditor reporting and ISA 720 projects as final standards. The revised CASs would have the same effective date as the revised ISAs.

Comment period ended on August 15, 2014 relating to the AASB's exposure draft and on September 11, 2014 relating to the IAASB's exposure draft.  Currently in deliberations.

Engagements to Review Historical Financial Statements

This ED was issued by the AASB in June 2013, with the objective of issuing a new Canadian Standard on Review Engagements (CSRE) 2400, Engagements to Review Historical Financial Statements, which will replace Sections 8200 and 8500, as well as Assurance and Related Services Guidelines AuG-20 and AuG-47. 

Based on comments received, the AASB plans to issue a re-exposure draft in Q2 of 2015.

The Auditor's Responsibilities Relating to Other Information

This re-exposure draft, issued by the IAASB in April 2014, proposes revisions to ISA 720, The Auditor's Responsibilities Relating to Other Information in Documents Containing Audited Financial Statements.  The AASB approved a related Canadian re-exposure draft, which was issued in May 2014.

Proposed ISA 720 (Revised) deals with the auditor's responsibilities relating to other information included in an entity's annual report, as defined in the standard. The scope is expanded to include a combination of documents that accompany the audited financial statements, as opposed to being limited to a document that contains the audited financial statements.   However, the scope is narrowed to limit it to a document, or combination of documents, that meets the definition of an annual report.

The AASB is proposing to include a Canadian-only application and other explanatory paragraph. CAS 720 (Revised) would state that in Canada, the Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) issued under the provisions of Canadian securities legislation would normally be considered to be within the scope of CAS 720. If an entity issues an annual report, the annual report would also be within the scope of CAS 720 if it meets the definition set out in the standard.

Comment period closed on July 4, 2014 relating to the AASB's re-exposure draft and on July 18, 2014 relating to the IAASB's re-exposure draft.  Currently in deliberations.  Final Handbook material is expected in Q2 of 2015.

Attestation and Direct Engagements

This ED was issued by the AASB in June 2014.  AASB proposes to adopt International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000, Assurance Engagements Other than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information, as Canadian Standard on Assurance Engagements (CSAE) 3000, Attestation Engagements Other than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information and issue a new CSAE 3001, Direct Engagements.

These standards will replace:

  • Standards for assurance engagements other than audits of financial statements and other historical financial information, Section 5025;
  • Quality control procedures for assurance engagements other than audits of financial statements and other historical financial information, Section 5030;
  • Use of specialists in assurance engagements other than audits of financial statements and other historical financial information, Section 5049;
  • Using the work of internal audit in assurance engagements other than audits of financial statements and other historical financial information, Section 5050; and
  • General review standards, Section 8100.

Comment period closed on November 3, 2014.  Currently in deliberations.

Auditor's Consent to the Use of the Auditor's Report Included in a Business Acquisition Report

This ED was issued by the AASB in October 2014.  The AASB is proposing to replace section 7500, Auditor's Consent to the Use of the Auditor's Report in Connection with Designated Documents with section 7170, Auditor's Consent to the Use of the Auditor's Report Included in a Business Acquisition Report.

Section 7500 deals with the auditor's responsibilities when the auditor agrees to consent to the use of the auditor's report in connection with a designated document, including a business acquisition report.  Consent in connection with a business acquisition report is driven by the Canadian securities regulatory requirement. Consent in connection with documents that are currently within the scope of Section 7500 other than the business acquisition report is not driven by securities regulatory requirements. The AASB is of the view that the auditor's consent in connection with such documents is similar in nature to the public accountant's consent contemplated in Association, Section 5020. Accordingly, the AASB concluded that Section 7170 should focus solely on the auditor's consent in connection with a business acquisition report.

When Section 7170 becomes effective, an auditor's professional responsibilities in responding to requests to consent would be addressed by the following standards:

  • Section 7170 – Consent in connection with a business acquisition report;
  • Section 7150 – Consent in connection with an offering document; and
  • Section 5020 – Consent in connection with documents other than an offering document or a business acquisition report.

Section 7500 is drafted in the context of an auditor providing consent to a client of the auditor in connection with a designated document prepared by that client. For a business acquisition report, the auditor provides consent to the acquirer of a business to the use of the auditor's report on the audited financial statements of that acquired business. Therefore, the extant requirements and guidance in Section 7500 have been significantly redrafted to capture the nuances necessary to deal with consent in connection with a business acquisition report.  Section 7170 requires the auditor to request written representations from appropriate parties relating to intervening period events, providing flexibility in terms of whether the representation is requested from management of the acquired business or the acquirer, and matters to be included in the written representations. Consistent with Section 7150, proposed Section 7170 permits the auditor's consent in connection with a business acquisition report to be provided either orally or in writing.

Comment period closed on January 30, 2015.  Currently in deliberations.

Joint Policy Statement Concerning Communications with Law Firms Regarding Claims and Possible Claims in Connection with the Preparation and Audit of Financial Statements ("Statement")

This ED was issued by the AASB and the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) in November 2014.

The new Statement will replace the existing Statement, with the same title, and Assurance and Related Services Guideline, AuG-46, Communication with Law Firms under New Accounting and Auditing Standards (often known to lawyers as the "Interim Guidance").

The revised Statement is expected to be effective for inquiry letters dated on or after December 1, 2016.

Comment period closed on April 6, 2015.

Audit Quality

In 2013, the Enhancing Audit Quality (EAQ) initiative, jointly undertaken by CPA Canada and CPAB, examined how to enhance audit quality in light of global regulatory developments.  As part of this initiative, a comprehensive review of the external auditor by the audit committee at least every five years was recommended as an effective approach to addressing threats arising from long tenure of the audit firm.

Performing a comprehensive review is still a fairly new exercise and audit committees are interested in practical examples of how other committees are approaching comprehensive reviews. Based on interviews with audit committee chairs representing organizations varying in size and industry, Comprehensive Review of the Auditor – What Audit Committees are Saying publication provides observations and lessons learned from those who have completed or are planning to complete a comprehensive review in the coming year.  Click here to access this publication.

Questions?

Reporting Implications of New Auditing and Accounting Standards

This guide is published by CPA Canada, and has been developed by the Task Force on Audit Reporting Implications of the New Canadian Auditing Standards.  The purpose of this guide is to promote consistency in the form and content of practitioners' reports by providing guidance with respect to commonly occurring circumstances.   Issue No. 12 was issued in April 2014.  Click here to access the guide.

Audit & Assurance Alerts

These alerts are issued by CPA Canada to raise awareness about challenging aspects of assurance standards.

The following alerts have recently been issued:

  • CAS 610 – Using the Work of Internal Auditors to Provide Direct Assistance on the Audit

Click here to access this alert.

  • CSRS 4460 – A New Standard for Reports on Supplementary Matters: Are You Ready?

Click here to access this alert.

In addition to the CSRS 4460 alert publication, a Practitioner Client Briefing on CSRS 4460 was published by CPA Canada in February 2015.  This document was developed to help identify the key issues to consider when accepting an engagement initiated by a third party to report on supplementary matters.

Click here to access this publication.

ACRONYMS USED

AASB – Auditing and Assurance Standards Board
AcSB – Accounting Standards Board
GAAP – Generally Accepted Accounting Standards
IAASB – International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board
IASB – International Accounting Standards Board
IFRIC – International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee
CICA – Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants
CMA – Certified Management Accountants
CPA – Chartered Professional Accountants
CPAB – Canadian Public Accountability Board
CSA – Canadian Securities Administrators
PSAB – Public Sector Accounting Board

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