Audits

At least one flaming hypocrite in public leadership has enough shame to retire from public life. But just so you know, it is our fault, not hers.

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NoteThis discussion is cross posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update because it provides a live-action illustration of rationalization. Auditors study the concept of rationalization because that is a factor we consider when thinking through fraud risk assessment during an audit. Part 1 of this series is cross posted here. Exercise for CPAs is to read these two posts, then identify multiple points where the rationalization thought process transforms inappropriate actions into acceptable behavior. 

At least one person on the constantly growing list of flaming hypocrites in public leadership has a sense of shame. Or, at least enough shame to realize she should retire. Eventually. Someday.

After two days of publicity about her non-Thanksgiving non-celebration trip to spend the Thanksgiving weekend with family she doesn’t live with, Dr. Deborah Birx made the announcement.

12/22/20 – National Review – Dr. Birx Announces She Will Retire after Holiday Travel Controversy and CBS news – Birx says she plans to retire, citing strain on family.

After two full days of controversy, Dr. Birx announced she will retire shortly after assisting in the transition to a new administration. Presumably, that means sometime in late January or early February. Or maybe March. Or maybe June.

Recall from yesterday the day after Thanksgiving she traveled from her home in D.C. to one of her vacation homes in Delaware for a 50 hour stay with her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren, all of whom live in a different home she owns in Potomac.

When challenged about whether traveling to another state with people from a different household during the Thanksgiving weekend was appropriate given her very public advice not to travel at all over the weekend and not to be with anyone from a different household, she provided a splendiferous rationalization.

The parade of alleged leaders who ignore their own Covid recommendations keeps growing.

Rationalization can blind our views and limit perspective. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

NoteThis discussion is cross posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update because it provides a live-action illustration of rationalization. Auditors study the concept of rationalization because that is a factor we consider when thinking through fraud risk assessment during an audit. Part 2 of this series is cross posted here. Exercise for CPAs is to read these two posts, then identify multiple points where the rationalization thought process transforms inappropriate actions into acceptable behavior. 

It is taking more and more time to keep up with the political and public health leaders who don’t bother to comply with the recommendations they give us.

This time it is Dr. Deborah Birx who blew off the travel restrictions and gathering size limits at Thanksgiving. Oh, pardon me. It doesn’t count as a Thanksgiving trip since she traveled to her destination the day after Thanksgiving.

Saddest part of this example of hypocrisy is it took place after a large volume of other supposed leaders drew massive criticism for ignoring the rules. It isn’t as if every political and public health leader hasn’t been given notice their behavior is being observed.

Scariest part is her rationalization that there was absolutely nothing wrong with the trip.

Last point in this discussion is the wish that every American had the same freedom she has exercised. Specifically, the freedom to make our own decisions on what is best for our family given our circumstances.

12/20/20 – Associated Press – Birx travels, family visits highlight pandemic safety perils – The day after Thanksgiving, Dr Deborah Birx, coordinator for the official White House coronavirus response team, traveled from her D.C. home to her vacation home in Delaware. Joining her in Delaware were her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren. While in Delaware they ate meals together for two days.

Final two sentences announced in KPMG inspection list theft scandal include no jail time; there are lots of consequences though.

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The final two sentences have been handed down in the KPMG fiasco for stealing PCAOB inspection lists.

Spoiler alert: no jail time.

Thoughts in last half of this post on other consequences they have earned.

Recap of perps:  Status of players in KPMG fiasco from leaked PCAOB inspection files.

 

Thomas Whittle

New audit report under SAS 134.

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In May 2019, the Auditing Standards Board issued Statement on Auditing Standards Number 134, Auditor Reporting and Amendments, Including Amendments Addressing Disclosures in the Audit of Financial Statements.

SAS 134 will make a lot of changes to auditing standards. The most visible impact likely will be complete revision of the audit report.

You can download a copy of SAS 134 at this link

SASs 135 through 140 also make lots of changes in audit procedures. A lot.

All of the documents are interrelated and will be effective at the same time.

Over the next year or two I will probably write more posts talking about the changes. For the meantime here’s an illustration of what the new report will look like.

Effective date

As issued initially, the effective date would have been for audits of years ending on or after December 15, 2020. First financial statements affected would be December 31, 2020.

Then the pandemic hit.

In May 2020, the ASB issued SAS #141, Amendment to the Effective Dates of SAS Nos. 134-140.

You can download a copy here. This pronouncement defers effective dates of SAS 134 through 140 by one year.

All of them will now be effective for years ending on or after December 15, 2021. That means the long series of SASs will first be required for audits of December 31, 2021 financial statements.

Another change made by SAS 141 is the series of SAS may now be early implemented. This allows firms who were well underway towards implementation on 12/31/20 audits to continue their transition.

Sample of revised audit report

Status of players in KPMG fiasco from leaked PCAOB inspection lists.

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As refresher, some time back senior level staff from KPMG worked to illegitimately gain access to the list of engagements which were going to be subject to inspection by PCAOB. You can catch up on the news by reading my posts with tag of Big 4.

This is old news at this point. Those of us interested in the ethical failure still want to monitor the status of the players. Previous list, found here, has been reworked since it was getting a bit cumbersome to update and confusing to read.

The five KPMG staff and one PCAOB staff who were charged are listed below with their status at various times. Updates will be mentioned as time passes and this page updated with new status.

Overall status:

  • 10/19/20 – 1 released from prison, 1 sentenced & awaiting deportation, 2 awaiting sentencing, 2 convictions on appeal.
  • 12/13/20 – 4 sentenced (of whom 1 released from prison, 1 to serve house arrest after deportation, 2 on probation/supervised release) and 2 convictions on appeal.

Updates:

  • 10/18/20 update – David Britt was sentenced to six months home confinement to be served from his new home in Australia after he is deported from the United States.
  • 12/13/20 update – Thomas Whittle sentenced to two years supervised release and Brian Sweet sentenced to time serviced, three years probation, and to-be-determined restitution.

 

Participants and their status:

=============== …

Increased disclosures for gifts-in-kind required by new accounting rule.

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In September 2020 the Financial Accounting Standard Board issued ASU 2020-07.  Formal title for the document is Not-for-Profit Entities (Topic 958) – Presentation and Disclosures by Not-for-Profit Entities for Contributed Nonfinancial Assets.

Contributed nonfinancial assets means gifts-in-kind. The ASU does not apply to donated services or donated financial assets such as stocks and bonds.

ASU 2020-07 will only change the presentation of GIK on the statement of activity and require additional disclosures in the notes. It will not require any change to the valuation of donated pharmaceuticals (accountants call that recognition).

You can get your own copy of ASU 2020-07 here.

(Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update, since this issue is of interest to auditors of charities.)

Statement of activity

The total of GIK will need to be presented as a separate line within the revenue & contribution section of the statement of activity, separate from donated cash and any donated financial assets.

Note disclosures

There are a number of new note disclosures which will be required for gifts-in-kind:

Why I talk about economic indicators so often.

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One of the frustrations I have experienced as an auditor is the statistical information made visible by the AICPA and publications from others is that the economic data mentioned routinely lags behind two or three quarters on the date it is published.  Another trade association reports giving trends in the religious communities, but the survey information is provided late in the year for the prior calendar year.

The result is when I’m working on an audit or review several months later, the readily available economic data is from the start of the fiscal year I’m analyzing. Sometimes the data is for the prior fiscal year I’m considering. That doesn’t do me much good.

Long time ago I came across a comment that CPAs ought to start tracking key economic indicators on their own.

What a great idea!

New standards on audit evidence and auditing estimates: SASs 142 and 143

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So far in July, the AICPA has issued two new auditing standards:

The AICPA provides a list of Recently Issued Auditing and Attestation Standards: Information and Resources.

I will try to provide a condensed description of the condensed summary provided in the At a Glance press releases linked above.

Audit Evidence

IT tools for auditors – Extract from PR Prompts!, part 4

Buzzword Bingo: Blockchain” by planeta is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Description of research tools for auditors working in the IT area is courtesy of the AICPA’s Spring 2020 PR Prompts! newsletter. The format of the newsletter is set up to allow firms who provide peer reviews to put their logo and branding information at the top of the newsletter, print it, and send it to all their clients.

Since the AICPA is making it available for firms to use in their marketing, an extract follows.

For ease of reading, following text will not be put into quotation marks even though it is a verbatim quote from the AICPA.

 

Digital Assets

The digital asset ecosystem is changing and expanding rapidly. For financial statement preparers or auditors, either currently in the digital asset ecosystem, or considering entering it, the AICPA’s Digital Assets Working Group developed a practice aid, which includes vital information for you on how to account for and audit digital assets. It is intended for those with a fundamental knowledge of blockchain technology, is based on existing professional literature and the experience of members of the Digital Assets Working Group and is specific to U.S. GAAP and GAAS.

Resources for auditors during pandemic – Extract from PR Prompts!, part 3

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Following news on variety of audit issues is courtesy of the AICPA’s Spring 2020 PR Prompts! newsletter. The format of the newsletter is set up to allow firms who provide peer reviews to put their logo and branding information at the top of the newsletter, print it, and send it to all their clients.

Since the AICPA is making it available for firms to use in their marketing, an extract follows.

For ease of reading, following text will not be put into quotation marks even though it is a verbatim quote from the AICPA.

 

Resources from the AICPA’s Enhancing Audit Quality(EAQ) Initiative

Through the EAQ,  the AICPA shares resources and education to help you avoid the most common audit quality issues. Check out the latest resources:

COVID-19 Audit Implications

Deferral of SASs #134 to #140 – Extract from PR Prompts!, part 2

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Following news on deferral of a long string of major SASs is courtesy of the AICPA’s Spring 2020 PR Prompts! newsletter. The format of the newsletter is set up to allow firms who provide peer reviews to put their logo and branding information at the top of the newsletter, print it, and send it to all their clients.

Since the AICPA is making it available for firms to use in their marketing, an extract follows.

For ease of reading, following text will not be put into quotation marks even though it is a verbatim quote from the AICPA.

Ready, Set, Implement: News on A&A Standards

Deferral of effective dates for SAS Nos. 134-140

Resources for auditors during the pandemic – Extract from PR Prompts!, part 1

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In May 2020, the AICPA published the second of their PR Prompts! newsletter. This semi-annual publication is designed to help firms stay current.

The format of the newsletter is set up to allow firms who provide peer reviews to put their logo and branding information at the top of the newsletter, print it, and send it to all their clients.

I received explicit permission to reprint items from the first newsletter. Since the email that accompanied the newsletter and the description of the top indicates firms are free to put their name on the material then distribute it, I am comfortable in posting information on my blog without further permission.

So here goes. The following information is from the AICPA. For ease of reading, following text will not be put into quotation marks even though it is a verbatim quote.

 

COVID-19 Updates and Resources

Many standard setters, including the ASB, FASB, GASB and PEEC, have evaluated, or are evaluating, effective dates and standard setting agendas. There are known and potential delays of effective dates of new standards and deadlines. As auditors navigate the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the AICPA is working hard to provide help. They have launched an A&A resource center at aicpa.org/covidaudit where you can access free resources addressing pressing topics like remote auditing, subsequent event disclosures and going concern.

Economic destruction from lockdown continues to expand.

There is severe danger that a growing number of businesses are going to look like this over the next few months. Abandoned Safeway store [01] by Ben Schumin is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
 

Going concern thoughts for accountants:  I have stopped cross posting all my comments on the pandemic to this blog. The focus here is accounting and attestation issues.

The following conversation is worth listing here, so you can bring into consideration what is going on in the broader economy as you ponder your client’s going concern assessments. The economic damage from the shutdown is an issue for audits, reviews, and comps.

You might pay particular attention to comments by  the Atlanta Fed on near-term GDP forecasts.

 

The damage from the lockdown is spreading. More news is emerging about the devastation that took place in just the first full month of the closure.

The damage will continue to grow the longer the shutdown continues. At some point it will start compounding, growing at a faster rate out of proportion to the time that is passing. Keeping the economy closed now is unnecessarily so the compounding damage is a choice.

Merely a few of the articles in recent days:

  • Guess on GDP shrinkage in next quarter
  • Disproportionate number of poorer households hit by job losses
  • Collapse of tax revenue in New York state
  • Collapse of home sales in Southern California
  • Another retail chain announce store closures and another announces liquidation

It is imperative to reopen the economy in full, not just for ‘curb-side delivery.’ If we don’t open soon, I fear the following articles will be mild in comparison to what we will see in the future.

This discussion will be posted on several of my blogs.

5/16/20 – Fox Business – US GDP could sink over 40%: Atlanta Fed – Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is forecasting a 42.8% drop in GDP for the second quarter of  2020.

Issues for auditors to consider as result of pandemic.

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This economic catastrophe is giving auditors lots to think about during audits. Reviews and comps are also affected.

Going concern will be a major issue on all engagements for a long time to come.

Goodwill impairment will be more important and more difficult.

Finally, consider that the rules for PPP eligibility are being rewritten after the first round of loans have already been approved by SBA and funded.

Going concern

4/23/20 – Bloomberg tax – Dave & Buster’s “Going Concern” Warning Signals Wave to Come – Management issued a going concern warning. For nonaccountants this means the company concluded “there was a substantial risk that the entertainment company would not survive the next 12 months.”

Article reports many companies are doing a much more in-depth analysis of the going concern assessment.

Economic damage from shutdown – 4/15.

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A few more articles on damage we are seeing from the economic shutdown.

Guess on California unemployment rate

April 2020 – Eberhardt School of Business, University of Pacific – Initial Estimates of Employment Impacts of Covid-19 Pandemic – The school of business estimates an unemployment rate of 18.8% in California for the month of May 2020.

This is in contrast to 2010 rate of 12.2% and 2019 rate of 4.0%.

Likely increase in bankruptcies

4/13/20 – Washington Examiner – Pandemic likely to exceed Great Recession in number of bankruptcies – Economists from a leftist think tank and a conservative think tank both guess that the  number of bankruptcies from the current shutdown of the economy will exceed the number from the Great Recession.