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IESBA seeks stakeholder input on key ethical questions arising from technological developments

Oct 19, 2020

On October 19, 2020, the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants' (IESBA) Technology Task Force launched two online surveys with questions seeking stakeholder feedback to inform its consideration of issues related to two key recommendations in the February 2020 Phase 1 report of its Technology work stream, "Technology Working Group Phase 1 Final Report". Comments are requested by by November 10, 2020.

The topics addressed by these two recommendations are:

  • Technology and complexity in the professional environment; and
  • The impact of technology on auditor independence.

Stakeholder responses to the surveys will help guide the IESBA’s consideration of next steps in relation to those two topics at its December 2020 Board meeting.

The IESBA is seeking views and input from all categories of stakeholders, including investors and other users of financial statements, the corporate governance community, the regulatory and audit oversight community, preparers, firms, national standard setters, professional accountancy organizations, academics and others. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to contribute to international standard setting.

Click on the links below to respond to each survey:

  1. Technology and complexity in the professional environment; and
  2. Impact of Technology on Auditor Independence

Review the press release on the IESBA's website.

IESBA Meeting Highlights: September/October 2020 Meetings

Oct 12, 2020

In October 2020, the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) re-leased the highlights of its virtual meetings on September 14-21, 29 and October 1, 2020.

Dis­cus­sion points in­cluded:

  • Engagement Quality Reviewer Objectivity
  • Non-assurance Services (NAS)
  • Fee-related Provisions of the Code (Fees)
  • De­f­i­n­i­tions of Listed En­tity and Pub­lic In­ter­est En­tity
  • Tech­nol­ogy
  • Engagement Team – Group Audits Independence
  • eCode Phase 2

Re­view the high­lights and pod­cast on the IESBA's web­site.

Committee to chart the future of corporate governance in Canada

Oct 06, 2020

On October 6, 2020, the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) announced that the TMX and ICD launched an initiative to update corporate governance guidance in an era of profound change.

Today’s Canadian companies face a profound and expansive new set of risks, challenges and opportunities in the modern operating environment, including pandemics, climate change, the rapid emergence of advanced new technologies and artificial intelligence, as well as changing societal expectations of the role of the corporation. To help navigate these challenges now and into the future, TMX Group* and the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) have established The Committee on the Future of Corporate Governance in Canada to provide updated guidance on corporate governance. The work of the Committee comes more than 25 years since the Toronto Stock Exchange Committee on Corporate Governance (commonly known as The Dey Report) published guidelines that continue to act as the foundation for Canadian public company board governance today. That work was in response to new demands being placed on corporations in light of a series of corporate failures. Today’s demands are fundamentally different, warranting this new effort.

Review the press release and initiative on the ICD's website.

Global ethics board elevates importance of accountants’ societal role and strengthens mindset expectations

Oct 05, 2020

On October 5, 2020, the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) released revisions to the "International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards)" (the Code) to better promote the role and mindset expected of all professional accountants.

The revisions explicitly recognize that the accountancy profession is entrusted with public confidence in the wide-ranging roles it plays in society and that such confidence is based on the skills and values it brings to its professional activities. Importantly, they reaffirm the profession’s responsibility to act in the public interest and the fundamental role of the Code in meeting that responsibility.

Among other matters, the revisions:

  • Reinforce aspects of the principles of integrity, objectivity and professional behavior;
  • Raise behavioral expectations of all professional accountants through requiring them to have an inquiring mind as they undertake their professional activities;
  • Emphasize the importance of accountants being aware of the potential influence of bias in their judgments and decisions; and
  • Highlight the supportive role the right organizational culture can play in promoting ethical conduct and business.

The “role and mindset” revisions will become effective on December 31, 2021.

Review the press release and revisions on the IESBA's website.

Speech: Committing to the public interest

Sep 30, 2020

On September 30, 2020, the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) released a speech by IESBA Chairman, Dr. Stavros Thomadakis, given at the Public Interest Oversight Board 15th E-Anniversary Seminar.

In his speech, Dr. Thomadakis mentioned that the PIOB has fulfilled successfully a demanding mandate: to build and operate an oversight framework; to ensure that international standards for audit and ethics embody clear public interest objectives; and respond to the needs of global users, while maintaining clarity and high quality.

Review the full speech on the IESBA's website.

WEF issues publication on ESG framework

Sep 22, 2020

On September 22, 2020, the World Economic Forum (WEF) issued a publication "Measuring Stakeholder Capitalism: Towards Common Metrics and Consistent Reporting of Sustainable Value Creation".

The publication discusses the new environmental, social, and governance (ESG) disclosure framework developed by the Big Four accounting firms. The framework includes a universal set of metrics and recommended disclosures intended to lead to a more comprehensive global corporate reporting system. The framework divides disclosures into four pillars — principles of governance, planet, people, and prosperity — that serve as the foundation for ESG reporting standards.

Review the press release and report on the WEF's website.

In addition, see Deloitte's Purpose-driven Business Reporting in Focus — Progress towards a comprehensive corporate reporting system.

IESBA Meeting Highlights June 8-12 and 15, 2020

Aug 10, 2020

On August 10, 2020, the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) released the highlights of its June 8-12 and 15, 2020 meeting.

Dis­cus­sion points in­cluded:

  • Role and Mind­set
  • Tax Plan­ning
  • IAASB-IESBA Coordination
  • Definitions of Listed Entity and Public Interest Entity (PIE)
  • Tech­nol­ogy
  • eCode Phase 2

Re­view the high­lights and pod­cast on the IESBA's web­site.

OSFI updates its FAQs on COVID-19 related regulatory measures

Jul 23, 2020

The Of­fice of the Su­per­in­ten­dent of Fi­nan­cial In­sti­tu­tions (OSFI) has a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) available for federally regulated financial institutions and private pension plans about regulatory measures it has taken to address issues stemming from COVID-19. On July 23, 2020, OSFI made updates to its published FAQs related to Federally Regulated Deposit-Taking Institutions and Federally Regulated Insurers.

For further details, refer to the Notice on OSFI”s website. 

Quality Management System Assessments: CPAB issues revised assessment model

Jul 15, 2020

On July 15, 2020, the Canadian Public Accountability Board (CPAB) issued a CPAB Ex-change Bulletin entitled “Quality Management System Assessments: CPAB issues revised assessment model”.

In line with its strategic commitments to enhance regulatory effectiveness and to drive targeted, systemic changes to accelerate audit quality improvements, CPAB has announced that it has evolved its Quality Management System (QMS) assessment criteria and underlying key concepts.

Starting in 2021, CPAB will complete preliminary evaluations of other select annually inspected firms against its QMS assessment criteria to drive a quality culture at those firms. For all other annually inspected firms, CPAB will assess QMS in conjunction with the firms’ implementation of ISQM 1 and ISQM 2. These new standards are expected to be finalized in 2020, with an anticipated 18-month implementation period.

For fur­ther de­tails, re­fer to the CPAB Ex­change Bul­letin.

COVID-19 public company audit implications: Considerations for audit committees

Jun 30, 2020

On June 30, 2020, the Cana­dian Pub­lic Ac­count­abil­ity Board (CPAB) issued a CPAB Exchange Bulletin entitled “COVID-19 public company audit implications - Considerations for audit committees”.

Noting that the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to significantly impact Canadian reporting issuers and their auditors, the CPAB believes that it is important that the quality of audits is not compromised by these challenges, and that care is taken by auditors to properly assess the accounting and disclosures made by Canadian reporting issuers.

Since audit committees play a critical role in overseeing the external audit, CPAB encourages audit committees to consider the following areas that could impact the quality of public company audits in Canada and discuss with their company management and audit teams: (i) Internal controls; (ii) Fraud; (iii) Complex/new accounting issues; (iv) People; (v) Project management; (vi) Changes to audit and review procedures; and (vii) Foreign jurisdictions audit work.

For further details, refer to the CPAB Exchange Bulletin on the CPAB’s website.

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