ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has today responded to the Exposure Draft Reporting on Audited Financial Statements: Proposed New and Revised International Standards on Auditing (ISAs), issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB).
David York, ACCA head of auditing practice said: 'The IAASB has let everyone see and comment on what it believes are the changes to auditing standards needed to improve the usefulness and relevance of reports by auditors. There are always going to be quibbles over wording, but broadly, ACCA is supportive of these proposals.'
The most visible change is a new requirement for auditors of listed companies to describe what are termed 'key audit matters' – the most important things they already communicate privately to the Board. Investors will be able to see what took centre stage in the audit. This is a huge change and one that makes the audit report much more than a simple pass or fail assessment. Reports will be read and digested.
The auditor reporting project has involved a considerable amount of work to an ambitious timetable set against a background where the European Commission and the US PCAOB have similar proposals under discussion. ACCA is impressed with the extent to which the IAASB proposals have been developed on the basis of research and views expressed in response to an earlier consultation and outreach activities. We have stressed in our response the importance of the IAASB maintaining its outreach efforts on the Exposure Draft and we have been contributing to that by organised events and a survey.
David York concluded: 'Standards are leading change, not codifying what is already going on, so it is vital that they drive innovation. Best practice will emerge only by allowing scope for auditor judgement to tailor reports to individual client circumstances.'