Date posted: 1/05/2020

Independent audits must be completed "as soon as practicable"

No adverse compliance action will be taken against accounting practices not able to complete their first independent audit on time because of COVID-19.

The Department of Internal Affairs has told reporting entities it supervises, including accounting practices, law firms, conveyancers, real estate agents and some trust and company service providers, they must act in good faith.

Designated non-financial businesses or professions (DNFBPs) have their first independent audit due in 2020, with the deadline for accounting practices being 30 September 2020.

Reporting entities unable to complete their first independent audit within the deadline should be able to explain how COVID-19 affected their ability to complete their audit and be able to demonstrate steps taken to do so upon lifting of alert levels, the department says.

"The independent audit must be completed as soon as practicable in the circumstances."

The department also noted that some reporting entities, where relevant staff and auditors are working remotely and have access to all required documents, may be unaffected. These entities should complete their audits by the current deadline.

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