We lodged a joint submission with ACCA on 21 June 2019 to the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) regarding its Consultation Paper containing proposed guidance on assurance engagements over extended external reporting (EER). EER reports can include non-financial information that extends beyond the traditional focus on financial position, financial performance and impact on an entity’s financial resources, eg integrated reporting, sustainability reporting and reports on environmental, social and governance matters. Assurance over EER is either mandated by legislation or regulation or voluntarily.
This IAASB Consultation Paper follows previous the consultation on “Ten Key Challenges” which arise in the performance of assurance engagements over EER. In October 2017, the IAASB established an EER Task Force and approved a project proposal to develop non-authoritative guidance to help overcome those challenges.
The Consultation Paper is a product of the first of two phases of this non-authoritative guidance project.
Our submission on the Consultation Paper supported the idea that the guidance needs to be practical and should not conflict with ISAE 3000 (Revised). We highlighted that framework neutrality needs to be taken into account, as ISAE 3000 may be applied to a wide range of engagements with different criteria, pertaining both qualitative and quantitative information, and across many jurisdictions. Members had strong views about the new concept of ‘materiality process’ having a different meaning to ‘materiality’ in ISAE 300, which is why we pointed out that the guidance should give more clarity. Likewise, we drew attention to the differences between limited and reasonable assurance, and remarked that although the guidance is developing in the right direction, it already seems long, and it is only expected to get even longer during Phase 2.