audit

Brief overview of new rules for audits of 12/31/21 financial statements.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

To help auditors in the CPA community, the AIPCA peer review staff publishes PR Prompts, a newsletter with information for firms providing audits, review, compilations, and other attestation services.

The newsletter is unbranded and AICPA gives explicit permission to peer reviewers to put their logo and branding information on the newsletter. Those of us who are peer reviewers have specific permission to send it to our clients.

I will present their comments in four posts:

  • New audit standards.
  • New accounting rules effective this year.
  • New accounting rules coming into play over next few years.
  • Tips for firms in peer review program.

One section of the newsletter provides a condensed introduction to new audit standards that will be required for our upcoming year end audits.

If you are an auditor, you really need to become familiar with the whole string of SASs, from #134 through #140 before you dig into your year end engagements.

The following comments are provided to you courtesy of the AICPA.  I gratefully acknowledge their work in preparing this info and gladly share it with you. For ease of reading, I will not put all the following material in quotations.

PR Prompts – Fall 2021:

New Standards

SAS No. 134, Auditor Reporting and Amendments, Including Amendments Addressing Disclosures in the Audit of Financial Statements, as amended

Required implementation is right around the corner for Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 134, Auditor Reporting and Amendments, Including Amendments Addressing Disclosures in the Audit of Financial Statements. SAS No. 134, as amended, is effective for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2021, with early implementation permitted.

Major revision to Quality Control Standards on the horizon.

Let’s dial up the quality of our A&A work. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

The AICPA’s Auditing Standards Board is proposing a massive overhaul of the Quality Control Standards.

Who will this affect? All CPA firms who provide any audit, review, compilation, preparation, or attestation engagements. In other words, anyone with any accounting & auditing work.

As a mere starting point, the new standards will be relabelled as Quality Management Standards.  Instead of QC system, we will now have a QM system.

As a reminder, QC or QM standards apply regardless of whether you go through a system review or engagement review during your tri-annual peer review. The QC/QM system is tested in a system review but you still must have a formal QC/QM system even if you only do comps and reviews.

This post will provide a quick mention of what I see as the three biggest changes followed by a lengthy summary.

Major changes

A massive change that will impact small firms is that the annual inspection (which is currently required and will continue to be required) may not be performed by anyone who worked on the engagement.

For one person firms, this will require us to get someone outside the firm to perform the annual inspection. Two or three partner firms where the partners do essentially all of the work will also have to get someone from outside to do the inspection.

Two of the other changes of note: new risk assessment process and annual evaluation of quality management system.

The risk assessment process will require establishing quality objectives, identifying risks to achieving those quality objectives, and implement responses to address the quality risks.

After a one year delay to allow running the new QM system for a while the new requirement of an annual assessment of the QM system will kick in.

Proposed effective dates

The first Statements on Quality Management Standards, referred to as SQMS #1, is proposed to require the new quality management system be designed and implemented by December 15, 2023. The first annual evaluation of the system of quality management is proposed to be required within one year following December 15, 2023.

Rephrasing the effective date, the new QM system has to be in place before the end of 2023 (by 12/15/23 to be exact). That is about 2½ years from now. The first annual evaluation will be required one year after that, by the end of 2024 (specific deadline 12/15/24).

Summary of exposure drafts

How can a football team’s position for scoring the game winning points illustrate the differences between an audit, review, compilation, and preparation?

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

(Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update, not because CPAs need this information, but because it might be helpful for your clients. You might also be able to use this illustration as a tool to explain different service levels to your clients.)

Let’s think about a football team and how they are positioned for scoring the winning points in the last few seconds of a tied game. They could be 4th-and-goal or perhaps not yet to a position for a field goal attempt.

Let’s use that illustration to explain the services provided by your outside accountant.

A CPA can provide four levels of services if you’re looking for financial statements.

You can hire a CPA firm to provide:

  • audit,
  • review,
  • compilation, or
  • preparation service.

What is winning the game?

We all know what that is in football.

In our accounting illustration a winning score would be perfect financial statements. Every number is correct. Not just close-enough, but exactly correct. Every disclosure complies with every single requirement.  The presentation and classification are picture perfect.

That probably never happens in real life, so let’s simplify it by saying that there is nothing even close to materially incorrect in any number, presentation, or disclosure. The financial statements are as close to perfect as is humanly possible.

That is what a win looks like.

Audit

Let’s say there is under a minute left in a tied game. Our favorite football team has just completed a successful drive and is sitting on the 1 yard line on fourth down. There’s only one play left in 30 seconds and the game is over.

Likelihood of getting a touchdown and winning the game is pretty good. Right about now the odds look incredible.

Disciplinary actions from California Board of Accountancy for late 2020.

….what you do not want to have happen to your license. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Update #92 newsletter from California Board of Accountancy dated winter 2021 lists 14 disciplinary actions summarized below. This tally excludes one listed action which is ending probation for a CPA and another separately listed case for the corporation owned by an individual who is also disciplined.

All these actions are effective at various times during November and December 2020.

My tally of these cases:

Disciplinary actions from California Board of Accountancy for the middle of 2020.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Update #91 newsletter from the California Board of Accountancy, dated Fall 2020, lists 33 disciplinary actions. The effective dates run from May 2020 through August 2020. Yeah, I’m just getting around to writing about the newsletter that arrived last November.

A few general observations before diving into a summary of the causes and levels of discipline.

Of the 10 stayed revocations for attestation failures, all but one had an attestation ban. General pattern is an audit failure will lead to a ban on attest services. The summary of the case does not give an indication why one CPA didn’t draw a ban.

Usually these are bans from performing any audits, reviews, compilations, or attestation engagements. Some of them were just bans from audits. Pattern seems to be the ban is for the duration of probation and then after that a firm may request permission to again perform attest work.

Imagine if you will, that attest work is a significant portion of your work and you cannot perform any of those for three years.

One big firm listed in this edition is PriceWaterhouseCoopers, who drew a stayed suspension with 18 months probation because of discipline by the SEC. They also earned a $300,000 fine and up to $26,000 reimbursement of costs for investigation and monitoring. An additional consequence is distributing a copy of the order to every employee who is in the state of California.

Of the seven disciplinary actions because of enforcement actions by federal agencies, six are from the SEC and one from PCAOB.

The attestation failures usually include three or four or more specific violations. For example, the actions may because there was not appropriate documentation, the opinion was not supported by workpapers, and there were violations of GAAS and violations of GAAP.  Those are overlapping issues but a major audit failure will likely cause a violation in all of those areas. Of grim note for two of the attest failures is one of the listed charges includes creating documentation after release of the audit report. You can make your guess as to what an allegation of that nature includes but could have been creating documentation after workpapers had been called in for review.

Here is a tally of the 33 cases:

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.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

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.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

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.

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

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:

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

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

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

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

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

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

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

Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

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.

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

Image courtesy of Adobe.

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