AICPA Amends Guidance on Component Auditors

By Anne Rosivach

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has just released Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 127, Omnibus Statement on Auditing Standards2013. SAS No. 127 amends two sections of SAS No. 122, Statements on Auditing Standards: Clarification and Recodification
  • AU-C Section 600, "Special ConsiderationsAudits of Group Financial Statements (Including the Work of Component Auditors)," and
  • AU-C Section 800, "Special ConsiderationsAudits of Financial Statements Prepared in Accordance with Special Purpose Frameworks."
AU-C Section 600
AU-C Section 600 expands on the primarily reporting content of AU section 543, "Part of Audit Performed by Other Independent Auditors," which provided guidance on situations where two or more auditors reported on parts of a multiple-unit entity. 
AU-C Section 600 applies whenever there is an audit of "financial statements that include the financial information of more than one component, including combined financial statements of components under common control, or group financial statements." 
The AICPA publication "AU-C Section 600Audits of Group Financial Statements" (taken from Clarified Auditing Standards Toolkit) was developed to assist preparers in implementing SAS No. 127. It advises auditors that the amendments "may require additional work and should be considered when managing audit scope, pricing, and client expectations."
Excerpts from "AU-C Section 600Audits of Group Financial Statements" follow.
1. The component auditor could be part of the group audit engagement partner's firm in a different location, a network firm, or another firm. 
2. Examples of work performed by a component auditor could include:
  • A firm in one location uses resources from one of their firm's other offices or from another firm to conduct an inventory observation in another location; or
  • A firm audits consolidated financial statements for a parent company and its subsidiaries, one of which has engaged another external audit firm (a component auditor) to audit its separate financial statements.
3. Group engagement partners are required to gain an understanding of the component auditors and determine the extent the group engagement team will be involved in the work of the component auditors, then choose to either:
  • Assume responsibility for, and thus be required to be involved in, the work of component auditors, in which case the group engagement team would perform additional procedures and issue the standard report, or
  • Not assume responsibility for, and accordingly make reference to, the audit of a component auditor in the auditor's report on the group financial statements. 
4. When the auditor chooses to assume responsibility for the work of the component auditor:
  • The group engagement team is required to be involved in the risk assessment of a significant component. 
  • The group engagement team is required to request the component auditor notify the team of any relevant subsequent events.
  • Additional communications are required.
In addition, SAS No. 127 states that the amendments to AU-C Section 600 "permit making reference to the audit of a component auditor in the auditor's report on the group financial statements when the component's financial statements are prepared using a different financial reporting framework than that used for the group financial statements, if certain conditions are met." 
AU-C Section 800
AU-C Section 800 introduced the term "special purpose framework," which is a cash, tax, regulatory, or contractual basis of accounting. The amendment adds an "other basis of accounting" that uses a definite set of logical, reasonable criteria that is applied to all material items appearing in financial statements to the bases of accounting defined as special purpose frameworks.
Effective Dates
  • The amendments to SAS No. 122 Section 600 are effective for audits of group financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2012.
  • The amendments to SAS No. 122 Section 800 are effective for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2012.

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