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IAASB Proposes Enhancements to Auditing Standards Focused on Financial Statement Disclosures

May 14, 2014 | New York, New York | English

The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) today released for public comment proposed changes to the International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) to clarify expectations of auditors when auditing financial statement disclosures.

The proposals include new guidance on considerations relevant to disclosures—from when the auditor plans the audit and assesses the risks of material misstatement, to when the auditor evaluates misstatements and forms an opinion on the financial statements.

“Addressing financial reporting disclosures has always been an integral part of an audit of financial statements in accordance with the ISAs. Over the past decade, however, financial reporting disclosure requirements and practices have evolved, and disclosures now provide more decision-useful information that is often more narrative and subjective in nature,” notes IAASB Chairman Prof. Arnold Schilder. “This gives rise to challenges from an auditing point of view, and the proposals enhance certain areas in the ISAs to support the proper application of the standards’ requirements.”

The IAASB’s work has been informed by the feedback to its January 2011 Discussion Paper, The Evolving Nature of Financial Reporting: Disclosure and Its Audit Implications. The board has also benefited from liaison and outreach with stakeholders, including accounting standard setters, which are also actively exploring initiatives relating to disclosures. The IAASB acknowledges that many of the issues around disclosures cannot be solved by the IAASB alone, and that collaboration and cooperation between many interested stakeholders is necessary to further enhance the public’s confidence in financial statement disclosures.

“Public confidence in financial reporting can be damaged when there are poor quality disclosures, including excessive or immaterial disclosures that may obscure understanding of important matters. This can result, for example, when disclosures are prepared and audited relatively late in the financial reporting process,” notes IAASB Technical Director James Gunn. “One of the key areas addressed in the board’s proposals, therefore, is additional guidance to help establish an appropriate focus by the auditor on disclosures and encourage earlier auditor attention on them during the audit process, including disclosures where the information is not derived from the accounting system.”

How to Comment
The IAASB invites all stakeholders to comment on the IAASB Exposure Draft of proposed changes to the ISAs to address disclosures in an audit. To access the Exposure Draft or submit a comment, visit the IAASB’s website at Comments are requested by September 11, 2014.

About the IAASB
The IAASB develops auditing and assurance standards and guidance for use by all professional accountants under a shared standard-setting process involving the Public Interest Oversight Board, which oversees the activities of the IAASB, and the IAASB Consultative Advisory Group, which provides public interest input into the development of the standards and guidance. The structures and processes that support the operations of the IAASB are facilitated by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

About IFAC
IFAC is the global organization for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. It is comprised of 179 members and associates in 130 countries and jurisdictions, representing approximately 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry, and commerce.