Gathering the Evidence – evolving auditors’ CASS expectations
The new standard on auditors’ CASS Assurance reports was published in November 2015 and applies to periods starting after 1st January 2016. There were a few whimpers when it came in, but not much of a bang. But perhaps there should have been – because the new standards introduced a number of new evidential requirements, some of which are quite substantial. Indeed, it could be argued that some of the expectations go beyond the requirements of the CASS rules and well into the realm of best practice, as perceived by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC).
These requirements have had a significant impact on all firms subject to CASS Reasonable Assurance reviews – and auditors will continue to increase expectations and refine the application of these standards over time. Firms would therefore be well advised to now consider the outcomes of reasonable assurance over the period since January and assess what is needed to meet the standards and maintain evidence and documentation in readiness for the next year’s assessment.
A further question to ask is whether your auditors have got it right. Remember that, as per CASS 7.13.61, a firm “must take reasonable steps to ensure that its auditor has the required skill, resources and experience to perform its function”. While standards have certainly increased, it is still incumbent on firms to challenge auditors if they provide poorly trained staff or incorrect interpretation of the rules. It may also be worth considering feeding back specific suggestions to the FRC, as they embark on their review of how these standards have shaped up in practice.
We have experience of supporting firms with auditors, as they apply these evolving standards to the reviews they are performing. We are also familiar with some of the auditors’ specific expectations in this area. If you would like to discuss this further we would be happy to do so without any obligation.
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