To help auditors, management and others involved with gauging the effects of the economic crisis on an entity’s viability and whether these effects should be described in the financial statements, the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) released the practice alert Audit Considerations in Respect of Going Concern in the Current Economic Environment.
The alert highlights areas within International Standard on Auditing (ISA) 570, Going Concern, as well as other ISAs that are particularly relevant in the current economic environment and provides additional guidance for auditors in evaluating management’s use of the going concern assumption. It also discusses issues surrounding liquidity and credit risk that may create new uncertainties for entities or exacerbate existing ones.
James Sylph, executive director, professional standards, for the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), the IAASB’s parent organization, said in a statement that evaluating going concern will “take on even more importance and is likely to be more complex. This is particularly the case with regard to the availability of credit and the impact of the current economic environment on budgets and forecasts.”
The alert follows the IAASB’s October 2008 release of Challenges in Auditing Fair Value Accounting Estimates in the Current Market Environment. Both alerts are available at www.ifac.org/financial-crisis.
The AICPA also released guidance designed to provide auditors of financial statements with an overview of their responsibilities under AU section 341, The Auditor’s Consideration of an Entity’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern. The information is available on the AICPA’s Economic Crisis Resource Center Web site, http://economy.aicpa.org. The going concern guidance is part of the AICPA Audit Risk Alert, Current Economic Crisis: Accounting and Auditing Considerations. The full risk alert is available at www.cpa2biz.com.
The PCAOB published Staff Views, An Audit of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting That Is Integrated with An Audit of Financial Statements: Guidance for Auditors of Smaller Public Companies. The guidance explains how auditors can apply the principles in Auditing Standard no. 5, An Audit of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting That Is Integrated with An Audit of Financial Statements, to audits of smaller, less complex public companies. AS5 provides direction to auditors on scaling an audit based on the company’s size and complexity. The revisions, made to the preliminary guidance that was issued for public comment and are discussed in Appendix B, were made to enhance or clarify the final guidance. The document is available at http://tinyurl.com/b8j5ts.
The AICPA released for exposure certain risk assessment standards rewritten as part of its clarity project. The proposed risk assessment standards have been redrafted into a format that clearly identifies objectives, relevant definitions, requirements, and application and other explanatory material.
The clarified risk assessment standards released for exposure supersede SAS no. 106, Audit Evidence, SAS no. 107, Audit Risk and Materiality in Planning an Audit, SAS no. 108, Planning and Supervision, SAS no. 109, Understanding the Entity and Its Environment and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement (Redrafted), and SAS no. 110, Performing Audit Procedures in Response to Assessed Risks and Evaluating the Audit Evidence Obtained (Redrafted). The exposure documents are available at http://tinyurl.com/asq23v.
The clarity project is similar to one recently completed by the IAASB that aims to clarify its ISAs. The AICPA’s Auditing Standards Board developed a plan to converge U.S. GAAS with the ISAs while avoiding unnecessary conflict with PCAOB standards.