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Material Misstatements – AICPA Proposes Standard on Assessing Risks of Material Misstatement NEW!

Accounting Estimates – AICPA Releases Updated Standard on Auditing Accounting Estimates 

Digital Assets – AICPA Updates Practice Aid on Accounting for and Auditing of Digital Assets 

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Material Misstatements – AICPA Proposes Standard on Assessing Risks of Material Misstatement

Summary - The Auditing Standards Board (ASB) of the AICPA has issued the exposure draft, Proposed Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS), Understanding the Entity and Its Environment and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement. The proposed SAS is designed to superseded SAS No. 122, Statements on Auditing Standards: Clarification and Recodification, as amended, Section 315, Understanding the Entity and Its Environment and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement. The comment deadline is November 25, 2020.
“The way business is conducted and the manner in which entities record, process and summarize financial information has evolved rapidly,” said Bob Dohrer, AICPA Chief Auditor. “This evolution affects the auditor’s assessment of the risks of material misstatement. This proposed SAS, which reflects this ongoing transformation, improves audit quality by enhancing the auditor’s process for identifying and responding to the risks of material misstatement in an entity’s financial statements.”
  • The ASB based the proposal on the International Standard on Auditing (ISA) 315, Identifying and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement. The overall objectives of this proposed SAS are to:Enhance the requirements and guidance on identifying and assessing the risks of material misstatement, particularly the guidance that addresses the entity’s system of internal control and information technology; and
  • Revise the definition of significant risks. The current definition focuses on risks that require special audit considerations, whereas the proposed revision focuses on where those risks lie on the spectrum of inherent risk and includes new guidance intended to enhance an auditor’s professional skepticism. 
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© 2020 CCH Incorporated and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Accounting Estimates – AICPA Releases Updated Standard on Auditing Accounting Estimates

The Auditing Standards Board (ASB) of the AICPA has issued the new standard, Statement on Auditing Standards No. (SAS) 143, Auditing Accounting Estimates and Related Disclosures. SAS 143 supersedes SAS No. 122 Section 540, Auditing Accounting Estimates, Including Fair Value Accounting Estimates, and Related Disclosures, and amends various other AU-C Sections in AICPA Professional Standards.

“This new auditing standard provides more robust guidance for auditors who are addressing an increasingly complex financial reporting environment,” said Bob Dohrer, CPA, CGMA, AICPA Chief Auditor. “In our current period of economic uncertainty and volatility, management’s asset impairment estimates are particularly important, and this standard will aid auditors in assessing them.”

What SAS 143 Does
New SAS 143 is one piece of a larger AICPA project to enhance audit quality (see the AICPA’s Enhancing Audit Quality Initiative). It enables auditors to address today’s new accounting standards and to enhance the auditor’s focus on factors driving estimation uncertainty and potential management bias.

Among the noteworthy changes, SAS 143 requires inherent risk and control risk to be assessed separately for accounting estimates.

SAS 143 addresses the auditor’s responsibilities relating to accounting estimates in an audit of financial statements. These include fair value accounting estimates and related disclosures. In the introduction, SAS 143 notes that in auditing accounting estimates, the auditor is responsible for obtaining “sufficient appropriate audit evidence about whether the accounting estimates and related disclosures in the financial statements are reasonable, in the context of the applicable financial reporting framework.”

The ASB has issued additional documents to assist practitioners in implementing the new standard, including:

  • SAS No. 143 At a Glance, Auditing Accounting Estimates and Related Disclosures; and
  • Linkages Between SAS No. 143, Auditing Accounting Estimates and Related Disclosures (AU-C Section 540), and Other AU-C Sections.

Effective Date
SAS 143 will be effective for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2023.

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© 2020 CCH Incorporated and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Digital Assets – AICPA Updates Practice Aid on Accounting for and Auditing of Digital Assets

The AICPA has updated its Practice Aid, Accounting for and Auditing of Digital Assets, to include new material on how to audit digital assets, with the focus on Client Acceptance and Continuance.

The Practice Aid, originally issued in December 2019, provides nonauthoritative guidance for financial statement preparers and auditors on accounting for and auditing digital assets under GAAP and GAAS. The new material is complementary to the accounting guidance previously issued in December. The new guidance is based on professional literature and experience from members of the AICPA Digital Assets Working Group (DAWG) and AICPA staff, and is specific to GAAS.

For purposes of applying the guidance, digital assets are defined broadly to include digital records, made using cryptography for verification and security purposes, on a distributed ledger (i.e., blockchain). Although all industries encounter change, the digital assets ecosystem is evolving rapidly. As firms seek to provide audits to entities within the ecosystem, they must give caution and consideration to unique risks and challenges.

The updated Practice Aid provides auditors with detailed information to consider when accepting or continuing audit engagements that involve digital assets. CPA firms seeking to provide audits to entities involved with digital assets need to ensure that they undertake only audit engagements that are appropriate. This requires evaluation of whether the audits can be performed in accordance with professional standards and applicable legal and regulatory requirements to enable an appropriate auditor’s report. The updated Practice Aid provides guidance to enable that evaluation.

Before accepting or continuing an engagement, firms need to assess items including:

  • The auditor skill sets and competencies, including the firm’s current industry expertise and understanding of digital assets;
  • Management’s skill sets and competencies, including with respect to maintaining the entity’s books and records and securing its assets; and
  • Client management’s integrity, commitment to compliance with laws and regulations, and its overall business strategy and the role the entity serves or intends to serve within the digital assets ecosystem.
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© 2020 CCH Incorporated and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Used with permission.