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.
A few more articles as you work through your audits, reviews, and compilations during the pandemic, plus a video on how to make your own cloth masks out of a t-shirt.
Key issues in this post:
Postponement of new CECL accounting
Deep dive into going concern assessment
3/26/20 – Nicola White at Bloomberg Tax – Congress Poised to Derail Biggest Bank Accounting Change in Decades – Congress put a provision in the giantic CARES Act to postpone CECL until 12/31/20 or when the governemnt declares the pandemic over. CECL otherwise went into effect on 1/1/20. This is the first time Congress has dictated accounting rules. Article mentions this is a reminder of the debate over mark-to-market during the Great Recession.
Here, in bullet point italics, are the items mentioned for your focus, with a few of my comments for highlight:
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.
The new Update newsletter from the California Board of Accountancy goes back to providing details on disciplinary actions. The Winter 2018 edition (#86) takes 20 pages to describe the 24 actions. The previous Update provided far less detail, which generated lots of feedback to the board, so the newsletter will again give the ugly details for the causes for discipline.
Update 11/30/18: Thanks to CBA for listing the messy details on what CPAs are doing to earn their consequences.
Three things jump out at me from the current list of discipline.
First, every action comes with a substantial financial penalty in the form of reimbursing the CBA for their investigative costs.
Second, just about every CPA that got in trouble for audit or review problems was given a ban from performing attestation work until some time in the future when the firm requests and receives permission from CBA to again perform such work.
Third, several CPAs received a suspension from their CPA practice. This means the individual may not perform any actions which would otherwise require a license. I think that means the firm halts all their attestation work and unless also holding an enrolled agent credential ceases their tax compliance work.
Here is my summary of the causes of discipline for the license surrenders and the stayed revocations:
These must be the preferred ways CPAs pick to get in trouble with the regulators because the board of accountancy says these are the three most common reasons they issue monetary penalties.
What are the three most popular ways to draw a fine from CBA?
Don’t get minimum of 20 hours each year of your license term or don’t get 12 of those hours in technical topics.
Ignore a formal inquiry from CBA.
Don’t submit that Peer Review Reporting Form with your license renewal.
For more detail, check out the following article, quoted with permission, from the California Board of Accountancy. Since it is quoted verbatim, I won’t put quotes around the entire article.
IT’S EASY TO AVOID CBA CITATIONS
To help increase awareness of CBA requirements and prevent licensees from receiving a citation, below are the top three violations that led to a citation in the previous fiscal year. Citations are posted on the CBA website and may include an administrative fine of $100 to $5,000.
Starting with the newest Updatereport for Fall 2017 (#85), the California Board of Accountancy has stopped listing the underlying problem leading to disciplinary action. This means it only took 16 pages to list the 44 actions reported currently. It also seems the CBA is listing actions against firms and the practitioner together.
This means the cringe inducing details are not immediately visible, even though the full disciplinary reports are public records and publicly available. I didn’t bother to take the time to research the reports.
I have tallied the current batch of discipline cases. Underlying problem is inferred by me based on the comments in the newsletter. I haven’t looked up any of the cases or looked up the reg sections cited for discipline. So, with those caveats, here are my inferences of the current disciplinary actions:
For a summary of the accounting rules released in 2017 and the most significant new rules from 2016, 2015, and 2014, check out A Closer Look: Discussion and Analysis of Current Accounting and Audit Issues.
CCH made this update available for free to people on their mailing list. I received permission from my editor at CCH to make it available on my blog.
Click here to download the 54 page newsletter. CCH does not have a separate landing page for the document, so that link automatically downloads the newsletter. UPDATE: If link didn’t work for you, please try again. I reloaded the link and it is working now.
For each of the accounting rules covered, the newsletter provides:
You might learn a few things from a list of Forty Mistakes Auditors Make. If you can identify a few ways to improve your audit approach you could save time, improve the quality of your audit, and maybe reduce your risk.
Lots of auditors are in the midst of planning their year-end audits and reviews. Now would be a really good time to think about how to do better, more efficient work.
Writing at CPA Scribo, my friend Charles Hall outlines a number of goofs made by auditors. I’ll list a few tidbits in order to encourage you to read and ponder the whole list:
There is a six page listing of common deficiencies identified during peer reviews of complexion and review engagements described in the AICPA’s new risk alert Developments in Preparation, compilation, and Review Engagements – 2017/2018.
Here are a few paraphrased highlights of the deficiencies. I will list items that I perceive are more serious or more pervasive.
You might consider reading through the full list and mentally comparing it to how you perform review and compilation engagements to see if there’s something you are missing.
The accelerating pace of change doesn’t slow down merely because I have multiple audits in progress plus more that just started. Here are a few articles to help keep all of us up to date on two newly effective standards:
For a long time the professional requirements for addressing going concern issues have been located in the audit literature. Yeah, the accounting requirement was in the audit standards. There has been an effort for several years to this guidance out of the SASs and into GAAP. Two articles show the substantial progress:
11/8/16 – Charles Hall at CPA-Scribo – It’s Time to Apply FASB’s New Going Concern Standard– ASU 2014-15 creates a requirement in GAAP for management to assess whether there are conditions or events which raise substantial doubt about ability to continue as going concern.
This is effective for financial statements ending on or after December 15, 2016. Translation: 12/31/16 financial statements. That would be the ones you’re auditing or reviewing or compiling at the moment.
If you haven’t tuned into this new requirement, check out Mr. Hall’s article before you download the ASU for study. Hint: the new requirements on management will seem remarkably familiar.
In case you hadn’t thought about it, having a GAAP-based going concern requirement placed on management means that there is now a specific need to address going concern in a review or comp.
There are two new SSARS pronouncements. Most likely they will not be a big deal for most accountants, but if you work in the comp or review arena, you need to know they exist and you really ought to have a vague idea what is in them.
First, a tip on staying out of trouble on nonattest services…
11/1 – Journal of Accountancy – Nonattest services quiz– A great six question quiz on nonatttest services. Take the quiz to find out how well you are doing on independence and documentation requirements. By the way, if you miss some questions you probably taking out some really serious risk in your audit practice that you didn’t even know about.
This is a great opportunity to find out what you don’t know, which can hurt you.