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The CAQ publishes a monthly Public Policy and Technical Alert (PPTA), which highlights and examines the regulatory, standard-setting, legislative, and broader financial reporting developments impacting the public company audit profession. This alert is designed to keep member firms and other stakeholders updated on significant public policy and accounting matters.

View the most recent edition of the PPTA newsletter below, and scroll down for older editions of the newsletter.

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Please note that the PPTA is intended as general information and should not be relied upon as being definitive or all-inclusive. The CAQ encourages member firms to refer to the rules, standards, guidance, and other resources in their entirety at the hyperlinks provided below. All entities should carefully evaluate which requirements apply to their respective organizations.

April 2022

SEC

Statement from the Chair: “Working on ‘team cyber'”

SEC Chair Gary Gensler delivered remarks before the Financial and Banking Information Infrastructure Committee and the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council. In his remarks, Gensler explored the connection between cybersecurity and securities. He discussed the importance of strong cybersecurity, saying that “cyber relates to each part of the SEC’s three-part mission: investor protection, facilitating capital formation, and that which is in the middle, promoting fair, orderly, and efficient markets.” He touched on cybersecurity policy as well as security postures for financial sector SEC registrants, public companies, service providers, and the SEC itself.

PCAOB

PCAOB requests comment on the impact of auditing requirements related to estimates and specialists

The PCAOB issued a request for comment on the initial impact of new requirements for auditing accounting estimates and using the work of specialists. PCAOB Chair Erica Y. Williams said input is welcomed from “investors, audit committees, preparers, academics, audit firms, and others who use financial statements.” All comments should refer to Interim Analysis No. 2022-001, Estimates and Specialists Audit Requirements, and should be submitted no later than June 10, 2022.

Jackie Cottrell to depart as director of the PCAOB’s Office of External Affairs

The PCAOB announced that Jackie Cottrell left her role as director of its Office of External Affairs (OEA). “Jackie’s departure is truly a loss for the PCAOB and for this Board. She has been a tireless advocate and spokesperson for the PCAOB,” said PCAOB Chair Erica Y. Williams. Cottrell joined the PCAOB as OEA Director in June 2020. Kent Bonham, the PCAOB’s deputy director for government relations and outreach, has been appointed acting director of the OEA.

PCAOB 2021 annual report

The PCAOB published its 2021 annual report. The report summarizes its operations and financial results for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2021.

FASB

FASB proposes updates to reference rate reform guidance

The FASB issued a proposed Accounting Standards Update (ASU) that would extend the period of time preparers can utilize the reference rate reform relief guidance and expand the secured overnight financing rate based interest rates available as benchmark interest rates. Stakeholders are encouraged to review and provide feedback on the proposed ASU by June 6.

AICPA

How high-quality audits protect the public interest and propel businesses forward

The AICPA published an article exploring how high-quality audit work supports a functioning economy and protects the public interest. The article touches on the importance of peer reviews and the evolution of audits. It also explores the AICPA’s role in ensuring high-quality audits and provides a list of audit resources.

Great audit methodologies can enhance your data analytics

The AICPA published key takeaways from a recent webcast featuring AICPA employee and data analytics expert Jimmy Young.

International

IFRS Foundation publishes 2021 annual report

The International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Foundation published its annual report and audited financial statements for the year  ended December 31, 2021. The report discusses the steps taken to form the new International Sustainability Standards Board, publication of the IFRS Foundation’s revised Constitution, and more.

FRC publishes 3-Year Plan takes further steps towards ARGA

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) published its 3-Year Plan, which sets out the FRC’s progress towards establishing the new Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA). The 3-Year Plan follows the UK government’s 2021 consultation, Restoring Trust in Audit and Corporate Governance, which moved the FRC closer to its aim of becoming the ARGA. Respondents to the FRC’s consultation expressed continued support for the establishment of the ARGA.

IAASB 2022-2023 work plan approved by the Public Interest Oversight Board

The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) announced that its 2022-2023 Work Plan, A Public Interest Focus in Uncertain Times, has been approved by the Public Interest Oversight Board. The work plan emphasizes sustainability and environmental, social, and governance assurance. It also highlights potential topics in the Audit and Review space (e.g., responding to assessed risks of material misstatement and the impact of technology on various standards) that will be considered for a project in 2023. A key focus that will remain is the progression and completion of projects underway at the start of 2022, including audits of financial statements of less complex entities, audit evidence, going concern, and fraud.

IAASB modernizes its standard for group audits in support of audit quality

The IAASB released International Standard on Auditing (ISA) 600 (Revised), Group Audits. The revised standard addresses special considerations that apply to audits of group financial statements (group audits). ISA 600 (Revised), Group Audits, includes a robust risk-based approach to planning and performing a group audit. It becomes effective for audits of group financial statements for periods beginning on or after December 15, 2023.

IESBA expands universe of entities that are public interest entities

The International Ethics Standard Board for Accountants (IESBA) released a revised definition of a public interest entity (PIE) together with other revised provisions in the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards). The revised provisions specify a broader list of categories of entities as PIEs whose audits should be subject to additional independence requirements to meet stakeholders’ heightened expectations concerning auditor independence when an entity is a PIE. The revised PIE definition and related provisions become effective for audits of financial statements for periods beginning on or December 15, 2024. Early adoption is permitted and encouraged.

Looking beyond 2023: IESBA calls for stakeholder input on future strategy

The IESBA released a public survey seeking broad stakeholder input to inform the development of its Strategy and Work Plan (SWP) 2024-2027. The survey seeks input from all stakeholders on what key trends, developments, or issues the IESBA should consider as it begins the process of developing its SWP 2024 – 2027. Survey responses are requested by July 8.

IFIAR 2021 Annual Report

The International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR) released its 2021 Annual Report.

IOSCO releases report on issues and considerations of market data in secondary equity markets

The International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) published a report that sets out some issues and considerations for regulators when reviewing the regulation of market data. The report highlights that market data is an essential element of efficient price discovery and for maintaining fair and efficient markets.

IFAC releases new implementation tool for auditors

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) released a new resource, Auditing Accounting Estimates: ISA 540 (Revised) Implementation Tool. It will help auditors implement the IAASB’s  ISA 540 (Revised), Auditing Accounting Estimates and Related Disclosures by providing an overview of steps practitioners could take and related considerations. The implementation tool contains “what,” “why,” and “how” suggestions.

Recent PPTA newsletters

April 2022

In this issue:

  • Statement from the Chair: “Working on ‘team cyber’”
  • PCAOB requests comment on the impact of auditing requirements related to estimates and specialists
  • Jackie Cottrell to depart as director of the PCAOB’s Office of External Affairs
  • PCAOB 2021 annual report
  • FASB proposes updates to reference rate reform guidance
  • How high-quality audits protect the public interest and propel businesses forward
  • Great audit methodologies can enhance your data analytics
  • IFRS Foundation publishes 2021 annual report
  • FRC publishes 3-Year Plan takes further steps towards ARGA
  • IAASB 2022-2023 work plan approved by the Public Interest Oversight Board
  • IAASB modernizes its standard for group audits in support of audit quality
  • IESBA expands universe of entities that are public interest entities
  • Looking beyond 2023: IESBA calls for stakeholder input on future strategy
  • IFIAR 2021 Annual Report
  • IOSCO releases report on issues and considerations of market data in secondary equity markets
  • IFAC releases new implementation tool for auditors

Read the newsletter

March 2022

In this issue:

  • SEC proposes rules on cybersecurity risk management, strategy, governance, and incident disclosure by public companies
  • Statement from the Acting Chief Accountant: Assessing materiality: Focusing on the reasonable investor when evaluating errors
  • SEC proposes rules to enhance and standardize climate-related disclosures for investors
  • SEC Division of Corporation Finance updates CD&Is
  • SEC proposes rules to enhance disclosure and investor protection relating to special purpose acquisition companies, shell companies, and projections
  • SEC publishes Staff Accounting Bulletin No. 121 related to crypto-assets
  • PCAOB releases Spotlight on the use of a service provider in the confirmation process
  • PCAOB shares perspective from 2021 Conversations With Audit Committee Chairs
  • PCAOB adopts charters for its two new advisory groups
  • PCAOB highlights key considerations for auditors related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine
  • SEC accepts 2022 GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy and SEC Reporting Taxonomy
  • FASB improves and expands hedge accounting
  • FASB expands disclosures and improves accounting related to the credit losses standard
  • IESBA Technology Experts Group members appointed
  • IAASB Digital Technology Market Scan: Artificial intelligence A Primer
  • IOSCO explains how decentralized finance is cloning financial markets
  • IFRS Foundation publishes IFRS Accounting Taxonomy 2022
  • IFIAR releases 2021 report on annual survey of audit inspection findings
  • ISSB delivers proposals that create comprehensive global baseline of sustainability disclosures
  • ISSB communicates plans to build on SASB’s industry-based Standards and leverage SASB’s industry-based approach to standards development
  • AICPA & CIMA announce suspension of services in Russia and Belarus
  • Putting CPAs in TPAs
  • The value of an effective vendor risk management program
  • Demonstrating the value of public company auditors
  • CAQ alert 2022-01: Addendum to November 6, 2021 International Practices Task Force Document for Discussion: Monitoring Inflation in Certain Countries

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February 2022

In this issue:

  • Statement from the Acting Chief Accountant on the FASB’s agenda consultation: Engagement with investors and other stakeholders vital to development of high quality accounting standards
  • Nominations open for qualified candidates to join IESBA as board members
  • FRC: Guidance – auditor climate related reporting responsibilities under ISA (UK) 720
  • IASB issues IFRS Accounting Taxonomy update for disclosure of accounting policies and definition of accounting estimates
  • IAASB: New implementation guide available for quality management for audits of financial statements
  • IESBA takes action to respond to transformative effects of technology
  • IESBA addresses independence expectations in group audits
  • FRC consults on revised guidance for recognizing key audit partners for local audit
  • PwC’s Tim Ryan Tapped to Lead CAQ Governing Board

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January 2022

In this issue:

  • Anthony Thompson and Erica Williams sworn in as PCAOB board member, chair
  • PCAOB to form two new advisory groups to enhance engagement with investors and other stakeholders
  • 2022-2023 IAASB Work plan approved pending PIOB approval
  • FRC releases a three-year plan and budget to prepare for the transition to ARGA
  • IAASB releases conforming and consequential amendments aligning existing IAASB standards to new, revised quality management standards
  • FRC: New research with audit committee chairs published
  • Q&A: IAASB head on audit’s role in combating fraud, ESG, new technologies, and more
  • Discussion document: Monitoring inflation in certain countries, November 2021
  • Audit Committee Practices Report: Common threads across audit committees

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December 2021

In this issue:

  • SEC adopts amendments to finalize rules relating to the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act
  • Statement from the Acting Chief Accountant on OCA’s continued focus on high quality financial reporting in a complex environment
  • SEC approves 2022 PCAOB budget and accounting support fee
  • PCAOB makes HFCAA determinations regarding mainland China and Hong Kong
  • 2022 GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy, SEC Reporting Taxonomy, and DQC Rules Taxonomy now available
  • FRC announces areas of supervisory focus for 2022/23
  • IAASB: New technology-focused FAQ available
  • 2023 IASB Research Forum – call for papers
  • The demand for assurance engagements on sustainability and ESG reporting is high. Here is how the IAASB is responding.
  • CAQ Audit planning alert for auditors of brokers and dealers

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November 2021

In this issue:

  • SEC updates electronic filing requirements
  • SEC approves PCAOB rule to establish a framework for determinations under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act
  • SEC appoints new chairperson and board members to the PCAOB
  • Christina Ho and Kara M. Stein sworn in as PCAOB board members
  • PCAOB approves 2022 budget
  • FASB proposes changes to interim disclosure requirements
  • FASB improves discount rate guidance for lessees that are not public business entities
  • FAF trustees reappoint Marsha L. Hunt to the FASB
  • FASB proposes expanded disclosures and improved accounting related to the credit losses standard
  • IAASB announces new board member appointments for 2022
  • IOSCO: IFRS Foundation’s International Sustainability Standards Board on the right track
  • IESBA welcomes launch of eCode 2.0 and eIS; IAASB publishes fully-digital handbook of pronouncements on eIS
  • IAASB and IFAC release less complex entities consultation survey
  • FRC report sets out what it expects from audit firms to deliver high quality audit
  • IESBA announces new board member appointments for 2022
  • FRC publishes latest edition of Developments in Audit
  • AICPA welcomes new International Sustainability Standards Board
  • Statement of support for the International Sustainability Standards Board
  • 2021 audit committee transparency barometer
  • PCAOB: Supervision of audits involving other auditors

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October 2021

In this issue:

  • Statement from the Acting Chief Accountant: The importance of high quality independent audits and effective audit committee oversight to high quality financial reporting to investors
  • Forum for Auditors of Small Businesses and Broker-Dealers
  • New FASB standard improves consistency in accounting for acquired revenue contracts with customers in a business combination
  • Gabriela Figueiredo Dias to lead the IESBA
  • FRC review of Alternative Performance Measures by UK companies finds room for improvement
  • FRC review of IAS 37 ‘Provisions, Contingent Liabilities, and Contingent Assets’
  • IESBA: Now available: 2021 handbook
  • FRC publishes oversight responsibilities and independent supervisor reports
  • FRC to focus on climate-related reporting as new disclosure requirements beckon
  • FRC publishes latest major local audit quality inspection results
  • AICPA issues new standard on auditor’s risk assessment

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September 2021

This edition of the PPTA discusses changes in the SEC general counsel, the PCAOB’s newly adopted rules for creating HFCAA determinations, and the FASB’s proposed improvements for equity securities. Also included are new FRC International guidelines, such as the International Sustainability Standards Setting.

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August 2021

The August PPTA covers SEC’s enhanced access to financial disclosure data, PCAOB board members public statement, FASB 2021 Investor Outreach Report, and FRC guidance for auditors. The CAQ also posted a summary and analysis of the most recent publicly-available ESG data for S&P 500 companies.

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July 2021

This month’s recap includes the SEC’s statement on investor protection related to recent developments in China, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update, and the IASB proposed reduced disclosure requirements for subsidiaries. The CAQ also provides BEIS consultation on restoring trust in audit and corporate governance.

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June 2021

In this issue, the SEC announced it’s Annual Regulatory Agenda, the PCAOB announced a reassessment of stakeholder engagement, the FASB appointed two new members (Jack Ciesielski and Brandon Coleman)  to the Emerging Issues Task Force, the IAASB made new Quality Management Implementation Guides available, and the AICPA issued a Statement on Auditing Standards. The CAQ also provided an alert about SEC amendments to certain auditor independence requirements.

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May 2021

In this feature, SEC Commissioner Allison Herren Lee gave a speech on the myths and misconceptions about ‘materiality,’ the PCAOB proposes rules to create a framework for the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act determinations, the FASB proposes to improve and expand hedge accounting, the FRC issues revised UK auditing standards for the auditor’s responsibilities relating to fraud, and audit risk assessment guidance was added to the AICPA and CIMA’s digital assets practice aid.

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April 2021

This PPTA details multiple SEC public statements, the PCAOB nominations for its Standards Advisory Group, and the new IAASB guidance on helping advance assurance for non-financial reporting.  Also included is an AFC published resource examining the implications of artificial intelligence in relation to mitigating fraud risk.

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March 2021

This installation of PPTA delves into the SEC seeking public comment on amendments to the HFCAA (Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act), the PCAOB approving the formation of a new advisory group, the FASB announcing that the SEC had accepted the 2021 GAAP Financial Reporting Taxonomy, the IFIAR urging continued audit quality improvement efforts, and the CAQ also published a guide to the PCAOB’s inspection program.

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February 2021

This edition of the PPTA discusses the SEC’s Allison Herren Lee’s statement on the review of climate-related disclosure, the FASB announces a new investor education video on convertible instruments, the IASB proposes to extend support for lessees accounting for COVID-19-related rent concessions, and the AICPA’s proposed new quality standards are aimed to enhance and maintain a CPA firm’s audit quality. Readers can also find a CAQ comment letter on the IAASB’s Discussion Paper.

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January 2021

This month details changes in the roles within the SEC, the departure of PCAOB board member J. Robert Brown, Jr, FASB clarifies the scope of recent reference rate reform guidance, the IFRS Foundation publishes educational material to support companies in applying going concern requirements, and the AICPA promotes Sue Coffey to CEO of public accounting. The CAQ also posted highlights from its SEC Regulations Committee’s virtual meeting.

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December 2020

In this issue, the SEC announces new Investor Advisory Committee members, the PCAOB issues COVID-19 spotlight and provides insights and reminders for auditors, the FASB proposes improvements to accounting for acquired revenue contracts with customers in a business combination, the FRC highlights importance of a challenge culture in audit firms, and the AICPA hires Jennifer Burns, CPA as Chief Auditor. The CAQ also reports on common themes that emerged in data from the first year of CAMs implementation.

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November 2020

This month’s report showcases the SEC’s statement on the third meeting with audit firm representatives regarding audit quality in emerging markets, the PCAOB approves 2021 budget and reaffirms strategic direction, and the FASB issues a standard that delays long-duration insurance guidance and updates early adoption provisions. In International news, the IAASB communique details plans to address complexity, understandability, scalability, and proportionality, and the IASB proposes amendment to its leases standard to improve accounting for sale and leaseback transactions.

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October 2020

In this synopsis, the SEC Division of Corporate Finance updates CD&Is, the PCAOB issues a staff update and preview of 2019 inspection observations, the FASB proposes three targeted improvements to the leases standard, the FRC publishes future of corporate reporting discussion paper, and the CAQ posts SEC Regulations Committee highlights from July 29, 2020.

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September 2020

In the September PPTA, the SEC modernizes disclosures for banking registrants, the PCAOB updates research and standard-setting agendas, the IFAC calls for a new Sustainability Standards Board alongside the IASB, and the CAQ shares a video highlighting skepticism as a focus for mitigating fraud risk.

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August 2020

This installation discusses August staffing changes and reappointments at the SEC, the FASB updating financial reporting requirements related to convertible instruments and contracts in entity’s own equity, and the IASB issuing IFRS Taxonomy Update for COVID-19-Related Rent Concessions. Also featured from the CAQ is Anti-Fraud in Action: Balancing big data and data ethics during COVID-19.

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July 2020

In this recap, the SEC announces the creation of the Event and Emerging Rick Examination Team, the PCAOB posts “Conversations with audit committee chairs: COVID-19 and the audit,” the FASB proposes concepts for defining elements in a financial statement, and the IAASB publishes COVID-19 related guidance on review engagements on interim financial information. Also, the AICPA issues updated standards on accounting estimates and disclosures for auditors navigating a complex financial reporting environment.

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June 2020

This month’s PPTA details the SEC extending relief for virtual meetings of fund boards, PCAOB issues six largest U.S. Firm Inspection Reports in a new format, the FASB offers limited effective date delays on revenue recognition and leases standards, and the IAASB publishes COVID-19 related guidance on auditing accounting estimates and related disclosures.

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May 2020

This month, the SEC provides temporary, conditional relief to allow small businesses to pursue expedited crowdfunding offerings, the PCAOB posts a spotlight on audits involving Cryptoassets, the FAF issues a 2019 Annual Report, and the IASB issues a package of narrow-scope amendments to IFRS Standards. The CAQ also shared COVID-19 Resources.

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April 2020

In this PPTA, the SEC enhances standards for critical market infrastructure, PCAOB staff provides reminders for audits nearing completion in light of COVID-19, the FASB seeks public comment on a proposal to offer limited effective date delays on time-sensitive standards, IOSCO releases a statement on application of accounting standards during the COVID-19 outbreak. The CAQ also provides COVID-19 Resources.

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March 2020

This issue provides an extensive list of COVID-19 Resources and news. Also included, the SEC adopts rule amendments and new standards, the PCAOB publishes 2019 Annual Report, the FASB issues new ASUs, the FRC publishes a report and discussion paper on technology in the audit, and the AFC publishes Assessing Corporate Culture: A Proactive Approach to Deter Misconduct.

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February 2020

In this addition, the SEC proposes amendments to modernize the infrastructure for the collection, consolidation, and dissemination of market data, the FASB proposes improvements to accounting for contributed nonfinancial assets by not-for-profit organizations, the FRC outlines plans for an operational separation of the UK’s largest firms, and the AFC publishes Fraud and Emerging Tech: Blockchain.

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January 2020

In this issue of PPTA, the SEC proposes amendments to modernize and enhance financial disclosures and issues MD&A metrics guidance, FASB clarifies the accounting for equity securities, AICPA seeks feedback on insurance entities working drafts, and accounting bodies call for improved UN Sustainable Development Goals disclosures. The CAQ also posts highlights of the September 2019 SEC Regulations Committee.

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December 2019

In this synopsis, the PCAOB publishes Critical Audit Matters Spotlight, the SEC approves 2020 PCAOB budget, the FASB issues a standard to improve accounting for income taxes, IASB proposes a new standard to bring greater transparency to ‘non-GAAP’ measures, and the AICPA issues new standards. The CAQ white paper highlights the role of auditors in company-prepared information.

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November 2019

In this issue, the PCAOB approves the 2020 budget and reaffirms the five-year strategic plan, the SEC staff issues SAB on new credit losses standard, the FASB issues new and proposed ASUs, and the AICPA proposes updates to audit and accounting guide for the gaming industry.

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October 2019

In this report, the SEC announces PCAOB Board member changes, the FASB votes to delay effective dates for major standards, the FRC announces a new leadership team, and the CAQ issues new ‘Profession in Focus’ video.

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September 2019

This installation discusses the new rule the SEC adopts to allow all issuers to ‘test-the-waters,’ the FASB proposes guidance to assist in transition away from interbank offered rates to new reference rates, the IASB amends IFRS standards in response to the IBOR reform, AICPA practice aid offers guidance on credit losses for auditors and the CAQ releases it’s 13th annual Main Street Investor Survey.

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August 2019

In this installment, the PCAOB publishes a report on interim inspection program related to broker-dealer audits, the SEC increases fee rates for FY 2020, FASB proposes improvements related to distinguishing liabilities from equity, the IASB proposes amendments to IFRS standards to improve accounting policy disclosures, and CAQ issues new ‘Profession in Focus’ video.

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July 2019

In this review, SEC staff publishes a statement highlighting risks for market participants to consider as they transition away from LIBOR, the PCAOB posts CAM resources for audit committees and investors, FAF Trustees open search for new board chair, and the U.K. government consults on CMA recommendations. The CAQ also comments on proposed SEC rules.

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June 2019

 

In this issue, the PCAOB updates the Data and Technology project web page, the SEC adopts an amendment to a single issuer exemption for broker-dealers, the FASB seeks public company input on segment reporting, and the EC issues new rules to support the digitalization and transparency of financial reports.

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May 2019

In this installation, the SEC proposes amendments to the accelerated and large accelerated filer definitions, FASB issues new, proposed ASUS, the PCAOB issues staff guidance that offers a deeper dive into the communication of CAMS, and the FCR publishes a guide to help smaller listed companies improve financial reporting. A CAQ tool helps audit committees oversee implementation of new credit losses standard.

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April 2019

In this PPTA, the PCAOB releases the 2018 Annual Report, the FASB rejects a proposal on the credit losses standard, the IAASB seeks input on audits of less complex entities, and we introduce new videos on our website.

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March 2019

In this edition, the PCAOB staff provides guidance in the advance of CAM effective dates, the SEC adopts rules to implement FAST Act mandate, the FRC consults on stronger growing concern standard for auditors, and CAQ comments SEC’s Request for Comment on Earnings Releases and Quarterly Reports.

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February 2019

In this release, the SEC proposes to expand ‘test-the-waters’ modernization reform to all issuers, FASB proposes targeted transition relief to institutions applying credit losses standard, the IAASB launches future strategy and work plan consultation, and Senators introduce bipartisan legislation providing regulatory relief to spur innovation.

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January 2019

In this release, Corp Fin issues a statement regarding recommencement of operations, FASB issues staff Q&A document on estimating credit loss reserves, the FRC launches consultation on changes to Third Country Auditors (Fees) Instrument, and the AICPA votes to issue OMnibus Statement on Auditing Standards. The CAQ Year in Review recaps 2018 activities.

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