如何调整小型实体企业的审计准则?


文章来源 | ECONOMIA





ICAEW全球会长Fiona Wilkinson女士指出,对于审计小型实体企业,业内呼吁现行的审计准则需要做出相应调整。然而,问题在于应该如何着手改变。




从审计准则先后被编入《审计准则公报》和审计国际准则(ISAs)开始,这些准则已应用于所有类型的实体企业,无论他们的规模大小, 并始终遵循一个基本信条 —— “审计就是审计”。
 
然而,这样周期性会产生一个问题,究竟应用于银行或者跨国公司的审计准则是否也能适用于规模较小的实体企业,比如体系简单的私营业主?由于ISAs篇幅较长、信息量大,给阅读和理解具体条款带来一定的阻碍。
 
这可能会导致审计师们专注于合规并过度依赖内审检查表,相应地减少应用专业判断能力的机会。2015年,北欧国家出台了一份关于审计小型实体的论文报告,这份报告收到了意见不一的反馈,但整个业界开始呼吁进一步采取行动。今年4月,国际审计与鉴证准则理事会(IAASB)发表了一篇名为“关于小型实体的审计”(LCEs)的论文,试图协调各方对于如何审计这类公司的意见。这份报告提供了很多解决性方案,其中包括ISAs准则是否应该被修改,根据更复杂的情况,增加一些附加的基本要求;还包括是否应该为所有小型实体(LCEs)的审计工作制定相应单独的准则;除了ISAs准则,是否应该为LCE审计师提供独立的指导,与ISAs准则进行配合。



ICAEW对小型实体审计的议题讨论和磋商在今年9月中旬结束了,相关意见已提交给IAASB进一步审核。我们正期待反馈的结果。与其他机构一样,ICAEW近几年来一直提出审计准则的应用范畴不够全面的问题。我们认为适用于大型组织的审计要求已经损害了对LCE的审计本质。同样令我们担心的是, IAASB如果不能听取多方意见,并快速有效地采取行动,将有可能把制定LCE准则的控制权交给反应更迅速的政府、监管机构和专业机构。ICAEW委员会在今年7月份就该问题进行了讨论,并且在今年10月再次讨论了LCE的审计问题,虽然看法不一,但一致认为需要进一步改变现行审计准则。无论ISAs准则是否会被修改,从而更符合针对LCE的审计要求,还是为LCE审计工作重新制定全新的准则,我希望都能尽快完成。毕竟,我们广泛的共识在于这样的现状不可能持续不变。



How to change audit standards


There is at last, says Fiona Wilkinson, a broad appetite to change auditing standards for less complex entities. The question is, how?


Since auditing standards were codified, first into the Statements of Auditing Standards and then into the International Standards on Auditing (ISAs), they have applied to all audited entities, no matter what their size, and it has been a tenet of auditing that “an audit is an audit”. 


Periodically, however, questions have been asked as to whether standards which are used to audit large international groups or entities such as banks are fit for purpose when auditing small entities such as owner-managed businesses with simple systems. There are concerns that the length and complexity of the ISAs act as a barrier to their being read and properly understood.


This can lead to over-reliance on checklists with a focus on compliance and a corresponding decrease in the use of professional judgement. In 2015, the Nordic countries issued a consultation paper on the audits of small entities which was received with mixed responses but led to a call for action. In April this year, the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) issued a discussion paper entitled “Audits of Less Complex Entities” (LCEs) to try to co-ordinate views on how such entities should be audited. Options considered in the paper include: whether the ISAs should be revised, which could include setting out basic requirements with additions for more complex circumstances; whether a separate standard should be developed for LCEs; or whether separate guidance should be issued for the auditors of LCEs to sit alongside the ISAs. 


The consultation on this discussion paper closed in mid-September and we now await with interest the results of the submissions to the IAASB. Like other bodies, ICAEW has for several years been raising the issue of the lack of scalability of auditing standards. We believe that the holistic nature of LCE audits has been eroded by requirements that are more appropriate for larger organisations. We are also concerned that, unless the IAASB listens to the views and acts quickly and decisively, it risks losing control of standard-setting for LCE audits to more responsive governments, regulators and professional bodies. ICAEW’s Council discussed this issue at its conference in July and audits of LCEs will again feature at its meeting in October. Views so far have been mixed but there is definitely a clear appetite for change. Whether the ISAs are re-written taking better account of the needs of the auditors of less complex entities. or a whole new standard for LCEs is developed, I hope it is done expeditiously. There does seem to be broad agreement that the status quo is unsustainable.