Statement On Standards For Attestation Engagements 21

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Statement onStandards for AttestationEngagementsSeptember 202021Issued by the Auditing Standards BoardDirect Examination Engagements(AICPA, Professional Standards, AT-C sec. 206; Supersedes Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements [SSAE] No. 18,Attestation Standards: Clarification and Recodification, as amended, AT-C section205, Examination Engagements; Amends SSAE No. 18, as amended, AT-C section 105, Concepts Common to AllAttestation Engagements)Page 1 of 89

2020 American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Inc. All rights reserved.For information about the procedure for requesting permission to make copies of any part of thiswork, please email copyright-permissions@aicpa-cima.com with your request. Otherwise,requests should be written and mailed to Permissions Department, 220 Leigh Farm Road,Durham, NC 27707-8110.Page 2 of 89

Auditing Standards Board(2020–2021)Tracy W. Harding, ChairRobert E. HarrisBrad C. AmesKathleen K. HealyMonique BookerJon HeathPatricia BottomlyClay HuffmanJoseph S. CascioKristen A. KociolekSherry ChesserSara LordHarry CohenMaria C. ManassesJeanne M. DeeChris RogersHorace EmeryTania SergottAudrey A. GramlingAttestation Standards Task ForceJeanne M. Dee, ChairMichael P. ManspeakerDenny F. ArdPaul A. PenlerMarne DomanCatherine SchweigelKathleen K. HealyChad SingletaryDavid A. JohnsonMatthew P. ZaunStaffRobert DohrerChief AuditorJudith M. SherinskySenior Manager —Audit and Attest StandardsMichael P. GlynnSenior Manager —Audit and Attest StandardsTeighlor S. MarchAssistant General Counsel —Office of General CounselNote: Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements are issued by the Auditing Standards Board,the senior technical body of the AICPA designated to issue pronouncements on auditing matters. The“Compliance With Standards Rule”(ET sec. 1.310.001)1 of the AICPA Code of Professional Conductrequires compliance with these standards in an audit of a nonissuer.1All ET sections can be found in AICPA Professional Standards.Page 3 of 89

ContentsAmendment to SSAE No. 18, Attestation Standards: Clarification andRecodification, as Amended, AT-C Section 105, Concepts Common to AllAttestation Engagements (AICPA, Professional Standards, AT-C sec. 105)SectionParagraph200Level of Service Standards205Assertion-Based Examination Engagements .01–.A131Introduction .01Effective Date .02Objectives.03Definitions .04RequirementsConduct of an Assertion-Based Examination Engagement .05Preconditions for an Assertion-Based ExaminationEngagement .06Agreeing on the Terms of the Engagement .07–.09Requesting a Written Assertion .10Planning and Performing the Engagement .11–.13Risk Assessment Procedures .14–.16Materiality in Planning and Performing the Engagement .17–.18Identifying Risks of Material Misstatement .19Responding to Assessed Risks and Obtaining Evidence .20–.21Further Procedures .22–.32Fraud, Laws, and Regulations .33–.34Revision of Risk Assessment .35Evaluating the Reliability of Information Produced by the Entity .36Using the Work of a Practitioner’s Specialist .37–.39Using the Work of Internal Auditors .40–.45Evaluating the Results of Procedures .46–.48Considering Subsequent Events and Subsequently Discovered Facts .49–.50Written Representations .51–.55Page 4 of 89

Requested Written Representations Not Provided or Not Reliable .56–.57Other Information .58Description of Criteria .59Forming the Opinion .60–.61Preparing the Practitioner’s Report .62Content of the Practitioner’s Report .63–.68Reference to the Practitioner’s Specialist .69Modified Opinions .70–.83Responsible Party Refuses to Provide a Written Assertion .84–.86Communication Responsibilities .87–.88Documentation .89–.90Application and Other Explanatory MaterialConduct of an Assertion-Based Examination Engagement .A1Agreeing on the Terms of the Engagement . .A2–.A6Requesting a Written Assertion . .A7–.A12Planning and Performing the Engagement . .A13–.A16Risk Assessment Procedures . .A17–.A18Materiality in Planning and Performing the Engagement . .A19–.A25Identifying Risks of Material Misstatement . .A26–.A27Responding to Assessed Risks and Obtaining Evidence . . .A28–.A32Fraud, Laws, and Regulations .A33–.A34Revision of Risk Assessment . .A35–.A36Evaluating the Reliability of Information Produced by the Entity . .A37–.A38Using the Work of a Practitioner’s Specialist .A39–.A47Using the Work of Internal Auditors . .A48–.A50Evaluating the Results of Procedures . .A51–.A57Considering Subsequent Events and Subsequently Discovered Facts . .A58–.A62Written Representations . .A63–.A67Requested Written Representations Not Provided or Not Reliable .A68–.A72Other Information . .A73–.A74Description of Criteria .A75–.A765

Forming the Opinion .A77–.A80Preparing the Practitioner’s Report .A81–.A84Content of the Practitioner’s Report .A85–.A111Reference to the Practitioner’s Specialist .A112Modified Opinions .A113–.A120206Responsible Party Refuses to Provide a Written Assertion .A121–.A123Communication Responsibilities .A124–.A126Documentation .A127–.A130Exhibit — Illustrative Practitioner’s Assertion-BasedExamination Reports .A131Direct Examination Engagements . .01–.A121Introduction .01–.02Effective Date .03Objectives.04RequirementsRequirements in AT-C Section 205 to Be Adapted to a DirectExamination Engagement and Requirements in This SectionThat Differ From and Replace Related Requirements in AT-CSection 205 or Are in Addition to Requirements in AT-C Section 205.05–.06Acceptance and Continuance . .07–.08Terms of the Engagement .09Written Representations . .10–.11Content of the Practitioner’s Report . .12Application and Other Explanatory MaterialIntroduction . . .A1–.A2Requirements in AT-C Section 205 to Be Adapted to a DirectExamination Engagement and Requirements in This SectionThat Differ From and Replace Related Requirements in AT-CSection 205 or Are in Addition to Requirements in AT-C Section 205 .A3–.A9Acceptance and Continuance . . .A10–.A14Terms of the Engagement . . .A15–.A18Written Representations . . .A19–.A21Content of the Practitioner’s Report . . .A22–.A356

Exhibit — Illustrative Direct Examination Reports .A367

Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements, DirectExamination EngagementsBoldface italics denote new language. Deleted text is in strikethrough.Amendment to SSAE No. 18, Attestation Standards: Clarification andRecodification, as Amended, AT-C Section 105, Concepts Common to AllAttestation Engagements (AICPA, Professional Standards, AT-C sec. 105)1. This amendment is effective for practitioners’ reports dated on or after June 15, 2022.AT-C Section 105, Concepts Common to All Attestation EngagementsIntroduction.01 This section applies to engagements in which a CPA in the practice of public accounting isengaged to issue, or does issue, a practitioner’s assertion-based examination report in accordance with AT-C section 205, AssertionBased Examination Engagements, direct examination report in accordance with AT-C section 206, Direct ExaminationEngagements, review report in accordance with AT-C section 210, Review Engagements, or agreed-upon procedures report in accordance with AT-C section 215, Agreed-UponProcedures Engagements.on subject matter or an assertion about subject matter (hereinafter referred to as an assertion)Inthis section, when the term examination is used, it is inclusive of both assertion-based anddirect examination engagements.In all attestation engagements, the underlying subject matter that is the responsibility of anothera party other than the practitioner. (Ref: par. .A1)Examination and Review Engagements.02 Examination and review engagements include the following:8

a. Assertion-based examination engagements, in which a party other than the practitionermeasures or evaluates the underlying subject matter against the criteria and providesan assertion about the outcome of the measurement or evaluation, and the practitionerexpresses an opinion in a written report about whether the underlying subject matter isin accordance with (or based on) the criteria, in all material respects, or the responsibleparty’s assertion is fairly stated, in all material respects.b. Direct examination engagements, in which the practitioner measures or evaluates theunderlying subject matter against the criteria and performs other procedures to obtainsufficient appropriate evidence to express an opinion in a written report that conveysthe results of that measurement or evaluation. The responsible party does not providean assertion about the results of the measurement or evaluation of the underlyingsubject matter against the criteria.c. Review engagements, in which a party other than the practitioner measures or evaluatesthe underlying subject matter against the criteria and provides an assertion about theoutcome of the measurement or evaluation, and the practitioner expresses a conclusionin a written report about whether the practitioner is aware of any material modificationsthat should be made to the subject matter in order for it to be in accordance with (orbased on) the criteria or the responsible party’s assertion in order for it to be fairlystated.03 The practitioner’s objective in both an assertion-based examination engagement and a directexamination engagement is to obtain reasonable assurance. AT-C section 205 containsrequirements and application material for assertion-based examination engagements. ATC section 206 contains requirements and application material for direct examinationengagements.02 .04 An assertion-based examination engagement or and a review engagement are ispredicated on the concept that a party other than the practitioner makes an assertion aboutwhether the underlying subject matter is measured or evaluated in accordance with suitablecriteria. Section 205, Examination Engagements, and section 210, Review Engagements,require the practitioner to request such an assertion in writing when performing an assertionbased examination engagement or a review engagement.1 In assertion-based examinationengagements and review engagements, when the engaging party is the responsible party, theresponsible party's refusal to provide a written assertion requires the practitioner to withdrawfrom the engagement when withdrawal is possible under applicable laws and regulations.2 Inassertion-based examination engagements and review engagements, when the engagingparty is not the responsible party and the responsible party refuses to provide a writtenassertion, the practitioner need not withdraw from the engagement but is required to disclosethat refusal in the practitioner's report and restrict the use of the report to the engaging party.3The purpose of an attestation examination or review engagement is to provide users ofinformation with an opinion or conclusion regarding the underlying subject matter or an91Paragraph .10 of section 205, Assertion-Based Examination Engagements, and paragraph .11 of section 210,Review Engagements.2Paragraph .84.82 of section 205 and paragraph .59 of section 210.3Paragraph .86.84 of section 205 and paragraph .60 of section 210.

assertion about the subject matter, as measured or evaluated against suitable and availablecriteria. An examination engagement results in an opinion, and a review engagement resultsin a conclusion. The purpose of an agreed-upon procedures engagement is to provide users ofinformation with the results of procedures performed by the practitioner on underlying subjectmatter or subject matter information. An agreed-upon procedures engagement results infindings.[Paragraphs .03–.08 are renumbered to paragraphs .05–.10. The content is unchanged.]Objectives.09 .11 In conducting an attestation engagement, the overall objectives of the practitioner are asfollows:a. Apply the requirements relevant to the attestation engagement.b. Report on the underlying subject matter or subject matter information (or assertion) andcommunicate as required by the applicable AT-C section, in accordance with the resultsof the practitioner’s proceduresb. In an examination or review engagement, report on the subject matter or assertion, and inan agreed-upon procedures engagement, report on the procedures performed and relatedfindings without providing an opinion or conclusion on the subject matter.c. Communicate as required by the applicable AT-C section, in accordance with the results ofthe practitioner's procedures.dc. Implement quality control procedures at the engagement level that provide the practitionerwith reasonable assurance that the attestation engagement complies with professionalstandards and applicable legal and regulatory requirementsDefinitions.10 .12 For purposes of the attestation standards, the following terms have the meanings attributedas follows:Assertion. Any declaration or set of declarations about whether the underlying subject matteror subject matter information is in accordance with (or based on) the criteria. An assertionis subject matter information.Attestation engagement. An examination, review, or agreed-upon procedures engagementperformed under the attestation standards related to subject matter or an assertion that isthe responsibility of another party. The following are the four three types of attestationengagements:a. Assertion-based eExamination engagement. An attestation engagement in whichthe practitioner obtains reasonable assurance by obtaining sufficient appropriateevidence about the responsible party’s measurement or evaluation of theunderlying subject matter against criteria in order to be able to draw reasonableconclusions on which to base the practitioner’s opinion about whether the subject10

matter is in accordance with (or based on) the criteria or the responsible party’sassertion is fairly stated, in all material respects. (Ref: par. .A7)b. Direct examination engagement. An attestation engagement in which thepractitioner obtains reasonable assurance by measuring or evaluating theunderlying subject matter against the criteria and performing other proceduresto obtain sufficient appropriate evidence to express an opinion that conveys theresults of that measurement or evaluation. In a direct examination engagement,the responsible party does not provide an assertion. (Ref: par. .A7)cb. Review engagement. An attestation engagement in which the practitioner obtainslimited assurance by obtaining sufficient appropriate review evidence about theresponsible party’s measurement or evaluation of underlying subject matteragainst criteria in order to express a conclusion about whether any materialmodification should be made to the subject matter information in order for it be inaccordance with (or based on) the criteria, or to the responsible party’s assertion inorder for it to be fairly stated. (Ref: par. .A8)dc. Agreed-upon procedures engagement. An attestation engagement in which apractitioner performs specific procedures on underlying subject matter or subjectmatter information and reports the findings without providing an opinion or aconclusion.Attestation risk. In an examination or review engagement, the risk that the practitionerexpresses an inappropriate opinion or conclusion, as applicable, when the subject matterinformation (or assertion) is materially misstated. (Ref: par. .A9–.A15)Criteria. The benchmarks used to measure or evaluate the underlying subject matter. (Ref:par. .A16) Engagement circumstances. The broad context defining the particular engagement, whichincludes the terms of the engagement; whether it is an examination, review, or agreed-uponprocedures engagement; the characteristics of the underlying subject matter; the criteria;the information needs of the intended users; relevant characteristics of the responsible partyand, if different, the engaging party and their environment; and other matters, for example,events, transactions, conditions and practices, and relevant laws and regulations, that mayhave a significant effect on the engagement. Engaging party. The party(ies) that engages the practitioner to perform the attestationengagement. (Ref: par. .A17) Interpretative publications. Interpretations of the Statements on Standards for AttestationEngagements (SSAEs), exhibits to SSAEs, guidance on attestation engagementsincluded in AICPA audit and accounting guides, and AICPA attestation Statements ofPosition, to the extent that those statements are applicable to such engagements.11

Misstatement. A difference between the measurement or evaluation of the underlying subjectmatter by the responsible party and the appropriate proper measurement or evaluation ofthe underlying subject matter in accordance with (or based on) the criteria. Misstatementscan be intentional or unintentional, qualitative or quantitative, and include omissions. Incertain engagements, a misstatement may be referred to as a deviation, exception, orinstance of noncompliance. Noncompliance with laws or regulations. Acts of omission or commission by the entity,either intentional or unintentional, that are contrary to the prevailing laws or regulations.Such acts include transactions entered into by, or in the name of, the entity or on its behalfby those charged with governance, management, or employees. Noncompliance does notinclude personal misconduct (unrelated to the underlying subject matter or subject matterinformation) by those charged with governance, management, or employees of the entity.Other attestation publications. Publications other than interpretive publications. Theseinclude AICPA attestation publications not defined as interpretive publications;attestation articles in the Journal of Accountancy and other professional journals;continuing professional education programs and other instructional materials,textbooks, guidebooks, attestation programs, and checklists; and other attestationpublications from state CPA societies, other organizations, and individuals. Responsible party. The party(ies) responsible for the underlying subject matter, which is aparty other than the practitioner. In an assertion-based examination or reviewengagement, Iif the nature of the underlying subject matter is such that no such partyexists, a party who has a reasonable basis fo

Engagements 21 Issued by the Auditing Standards Board Direct Examination Engagements (AICPA, Professional Standards, AT-C sec. 206; Supersedes Statement on Standards for Attestation Engagements [SSAE] No. 18, Attestation Standards: Clarification and Recodification, as amended, AT-C section 205, Examination Engagements;

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