New standard addresses investments, specialist matters

By Ken Tysiac

The AICPA Auditing Standards Board issued a standard Tuesday that provides guidance on the use of specialists and pricing information obtained from external information sources.

The guidance is included in Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 144, Amendments to AU-C Sections 501, 540, and 620 Related to the Use of Specialists and the Use of Pricing Information Obtained From External Information Sources. SAS No. 144 amends SAS No. 122, as amended, Sections 501 and 620, and SAS No. 143, Auditing Accounting Estimates and Related Disclosures.

SAS No. 144:

  • Provides guidance in AU-C Section 501 on applying SAS No. 143 when management has used the work of a specialist in developing accounting estimates.
  • Provides enhanced guidance about evaluating the work of management’s specialist.
  • Adds a new appendix to AU-C Section 540 that provides guidance on the use of pricing information from pricing services when evaluating management’s estimates related to the fair value of financial instruments.
  • Enhances the guidance in AU-C Section 620 related to using the work of an auditor’s specialist.

AICPA Chief Auditor Jennifer Burns, CPA, said the standard responds to feedback that sought more guidance on auditing the fair value of financial instruments.

“The new standard provides that, with a particular focus on the use of pricing services,” Burns said in a news release. “We’ve also taken the opportunity to modernize our standards related to the use of specialists by management and auditors, which is becoming more common due to the continued complexity of today’s financial reporting.”

SAS No. 144 takes effect for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after Dec. 15, 2023.

Ken Tysiac (Kenneth.Tysiac@aicpa-cima.com) is the JofA’s editorial director.

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