audit methodology

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.

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

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

News For CPAs During The Pandemic: AICPA guidance on accounting, reporting, and auditing – 4/10

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Guidance from AICPA can help with financial reporting and auditing. Also, there is a need for COBOL programmers.

If you had not noticed, the California Society of CPAs is offering a lot of CPE webcasts on tax and auditing issues during the pandemic. Many of them are free. Yeah, no charge CPE. How ‘bout that?

4/8/20 – Journal of Accountancy – AICPA issues audit and accounting guidance FAQs on COVID-19 – The AICPA published a 21 page document on accounting and audit issues: Audit Matters and Auditor Reporting Issues Related to COVID?19

Articles for CPAs during the pandemic.

Image courtesy of Dollar Photo Club before their merger into Adobe Stock.

Lots of articles are appearing that can help CPAs during the pandemic. There are new and depressingly creative ways this is going to affect financial reporting. I’ll start mentioning some of those articles that grab my attention and may be of interest to you.

3/31/20 – FEI Daily – How Lease Accounting Will Be Affected by Coronavirus – Turmoil in leasing office space will create lots of complications under ASC 842, the new lease accounting rules. Article calls attention to: rent concessions, discount rate, fair market values, impairment, partial termination, reassessment, full termination abandonment, and information delay.

3/29/20 – Forbes – For Higher Education, Nothing Matters More Than September – …

Financial reporting issues to consider during early stages of COVID-19 pandemic

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A range of financial reporting issues need careful attention during the COVID-19 pandemic. These issues are old news in the professional literature but need to be considered more intentionally.

The AICPA published a special report on March 18, 2020. The report, Consequences of COVID-19 Financial Reporting Considerations, was drafted by the Center for Plain English Accounting and is available at no charge.

On 3/14/29, I was Pondering impact of coronavirus prevention steps on financial statements. An auditor’s perspective. The AICPA report goes into far more detail.

Here, in bullet point italics, are the items mentioned for your focus, with a few of my comments for highlight:

  • Subsequent Events

Type II subsequent events are those which take place after the financial statement date which are so significant that they warrant mention in the financial statements to keep those statements from being misleading.

  • Subsequent Events – Market-Value Declines

A technical Q&A (TQA 9070.06) indicates there are some occasions that can arise which warrant adjusting financial statements based on subsequent declines in market value.

  • Subsequent Events – COVID-19

“Resources from the AICPA’s Enhancing Audit Quality (EAQ) Initiative” – PR Prompts!, part 6

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In November 2019, the AICPA published the first of a new semi-annual newsletter, PR Prompts!, designed to help CPAs keep current on peer review news.

The AICPA gave me permission to reprint portions of the newsletter on my blog.

This is the last of six posts to help you stay up to date.

The following comment is quoted verbatim. For ease of reading it will not be set inside quotation marks:

 

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

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

Risk Assessment and Response

In a survey of peer reviewers, over 50% of firms reviewed failed to comply with the risk assessment standards. Access free risk assessment tools, including industry-specific resources, to help you avoid common issues.

Also, watch the EAQ’s ENGAGE conference presentation with methodology providers to learn how to properly apply their methodologies and avoid the areas creating the most challenges for practitioners.

Internal Control

“Auditor Reporting” – PR Prompts!, part 5

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A complete overhaul of the auditor’s report for audits of 12/31/20 financial statements is going to be a very big deal. Please tune in to the new standards!

In November 2019, the AICPA published the first of a new semi-annual newsletter, PR Prompts!, designed to help CPAs keep current on peer review news.

The AICPA gave me permission to reprint portions of the newsletter on my blog.

This is the fifth of six posts to help you stay up to date.

I have looked at this page on the AICPA website. It is quite helpful. If you provide audits to your clients, it would be worth your time to find, browse, and bookmark this page.

The following comment is quoted verbatim. For ease of reading it will not be set inside quotation marks:

 

Auditor Reporting

The form and content of the auditor’s reports will change substantively which will be effective for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2020. Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 134, Auditor Reporting and Amendments, Including Amendments Addressing Disclosures in the Audit of Financial Statements, was issued in May 2019. SAS No. 134 includes a new AU-C section 701, Communicating Key Audit Matters in the Independent Auditor’s Report, and replaces the following AU-C sections in AICPA Professional Standards:

“Auditing Standards Issued in 2019: Information and Resources” – PR Prompts!, part 4

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

In November 2019, the AICPA published the first of a new semi-annual newsletter, PR Prompts!, designed to help CPAs keep current on peer review news.

The AICPA gave me permission to reprint portions of the newsletter on my blog.

This is the fourth of six posts to help you stay up to date.

 

I have looked at the following page on the AICPA website. It is quite helpful. If you provide audits to your clients, it would be worth your time to find, browse, and bookmark this page.

The following comment is quoted verbatim. For ease of reading it will not be set inside quotation marks:

 

Auditing Standards Issued in 2019: Information and Resources

This is an exciting time in the auditing space. Standards are changing to keep up with today’s business environment. To set you up for success, we’ve gathered resources on auditing standards that include on changes to the auditing reporting standard, the employee benefit plan auditing standard and the other information standard. These include backgrounders, FAQs and news articles.

 

As mentioned at the top of this post, this article is reprinted with permission of the AICPA.