Attestation Update – A&A for CPAs

Technical stuff for CPAs providing attestation services

Posts Tagged ‘audit methodology

Comments from recent continuing education classes worth repeating: not-for-profit entities.

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Here are some fun or interesting or useful tidbits from the October 2018 A&A and the June 2019 Not-for-profit conferences presented by California Society of CPAs that apply to not-for-profit organizations.

Previous posts had comments on

Non-attest services and Yellow Book independence. Everyone probably knows that charities with more than $2 million of revenue who are registered with the California Attorney General must have an audit. Excluded from the requirement would be religious organizations, who are exempt from registering with the AG.

That requirement was created by the Nonprofit Integrity Act of 2004, so it’s old news.

The best payoff from attending CPE conferences is to compare every piece of information you hear to what you think you know. So, here is one of the big rewards for me attending this class…

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Written by Jim Ulvog

July 5, 2019, 8:36 am at 8:36 am

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Comments from recent continuing education classes worth repeating: peer review

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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

Here are some fun or interesting or useful tidbits from the October 2018 A&A and the June 2019 Not-for-profit conferences presented by California Society of CPAs.

Previous post had comments on accounting and auditing.

Peer review

One speaker said there are several common issues for weaknesses in risk assessment:

  • Limited assessment
  • No linkage (relating the assessment of risks to further audit procedures)
  • Poor use of third-party practice tools
  • No assessment of IT risks

Not doing any risk assessment is now a major problem for you in a peer review if you missed the boat on the risk suite of standards.

For Yellow Book audit, the workpapers must document SKE (skills, knowledge, experience) of staff overseeing non-attest services.  Although the professional standards do not exactly require documentation of SKE for non-attest service on a non-yellow book audit, the speaker said (if I heard correctly) that the California Peer Review Committee has a considered opinion that such documentation is required.

So, if you have non-attest services on a non-yellow book audit, Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jim Ulvog

June 28, 2019, 7:54 am at 7:54 am

Comments from recent continuing education classes worth repeating: accounting and auditing

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To get ready for a writing project this summer, I’ve been going over my notes from some CPE conferences and classes.

Thought I’d share some of the fun or interesting or useful tidbits from the October 2018 A&A and the June 2019 Not-for-profit conferences presented by California Society of CPAs.

Auditing

The auditor’s report will be completely reworked with implementation first required for 12/31/20 reports. The statement has been issued. Check out SAS-134, Auditor Reporting and Amendments, Including Amendments Addressing Disclosures in the Audit of Financial Statements if  you want to get a head start on the overhaul to audit rules.

By the way, an omnibus standard, SAS 135, makes lots of little changes you need to know about.

An exposure draft is out which addresses audit evidence. Final document expected in late 2019.

Accounting

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Written by Jim Ulvog

June 27, 2019, 6:58 am at 6:58 am

KPMG agrees to $50 million fine from SEC. The details are really bad.

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Oh, remember that post about the SEC considering a $50M fine against KPMG?  Initial report suggested it was for gaining access to the list of engagements which were going to be inspected by PCAOB.

It is much worse.

The firm is fined for altering workpapers based on the inspection list. In addition, there was a lot of cheating on the tests for CPE courses, including a class required by the SEC.

The SEC says KPMG has agreed to settle and pay $50M.

If you want to read the gory details for yourself, you can do so:

This is for real. Seriously.

By the time you finish reading this post or other reports on the SEC’s action, you may be wondering whether there needs to be an assertion the source of information for this post was neither The Onion nor Babylon Bee.

Reports of setting your own passing score for an ethics test could make you wonder if it is very early April. “Cooperate and graduate” exchanges of test answers with the engagement partner and your audit team makes one wonder whether we have entered some sort of alternate reality.

You may want to glance at the linked documents and verify for yourself they are for real.

I assure you the above documents are from the SEC.gov website.

SEC action

In part II of the administrative action/cease & desist order, KPMG admits the facts described in part III.

Here are some highlights of part III.

First cause of action

The first cause of action by the SEC is the firm obtained the list of engagements which were going to be inspected by PCAOB and then altered workpapers which had not yet hit the lock-down date.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

June 17, 2019, 9:22 am at 9:22 am

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Exposure drafts propose change to definition of materiality for audit and attestation standards.

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The Auditing Standards Board has issued exposure drafts to subtly change the definition of materiality in the SAS and SSAE literature. Both exposure drafts are titled Amendments to the description of the concept of materility and can be found here.

A Journal of Accountancy article describes the proposed changes:  ASB seeks alignment of materiality definition.

The exposure draft gives a four page history of how the definition of materiality has evolved over the last several decades.

What the proposed changes would do is shift the definition of materiality in the audit and attestsation literate to match what is used by the US courts, PCAOB, SEC, and FASB. Currently the definition is aligned with IASB and IAASB.

I will quote portions of one paragraph in the exposure draft and make some comments.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

June 7, 2019, 8:11 am at 8:11 am

Posted in Audits

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CPA sanctioned by California Attorney General over audit of charity

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The California AG negotiated a settlement with a charity for their alleged overvaluation of medical GIK. I say alleged because the charity, three present or former board members, the charity’s insurance company, and the external auditor all deny in the settlement they did anything wrong.

The alleged scheme, according to the AG, was the charity used two other charities, which it formed, to buy medicine in the Netherlands and then donate it back to the ‘parent’, which then recognized GIK at US prices.

The AG asserts that over the course of 25 or more transactions, the purchase of about $225,000 of medicine by the two controlled charities generated gift-in-kind revenue of about $34,900,000 in the sanctioned charity.

Of note for readers of this blog is that the CPA providing an external audit was sanctioned as part of the negotiated settlement. She audited the charity and signed its 990s. She also audited one of the controlled charities and signed their 990s.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

June 4, 2019, 10:23 am at 10:23 am

News flash for CPAs: auditor reports will be changing again for 12/31/20 audits (SAS 134, 135)

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Reaction of many CPAs to the accelerating rate of change facing the profession. Image courtesy of Adobe Stock.

On May 8, 2019, the Auditing Standards Board of the AICPA issued two new SASs:

The AICPA press release is here.

SAS 135 is only 36 pages long, but SAS 134 at 261 pages in length is a bruiser.

Essentially, 134 will replace the audit literature that discusses the auditor’s report (AU-C 700), modification of the audit report (AU-C 705), and emphasis-of-matter sections (AU-C 706). Wording and format of audit reports and entire range of modifications will all be changing.

Effective date is years ending on or after December 15, 2020. That means these will first apply for 12/31/20 audits performed in late winter/spring of 2021.

Seems like a long time in the future, but might be worth setting some time aside to start sorting through the changes.

Written by Jim Ulvog

May 24, 2019, 7:00 am at 7:00 am

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2018 nonprofit risk alert is available. New edition adds discussion on valuation of GIK as rebuttal to California AG.

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Cover of 2018 NFP risk alert, used under fair use since I’m recommending you buy the document.

The AICPA has released the 2018 edition of Not-for-Profit Entities Industry Developments.

If you are a CPA serving the not-for-profit community, you need to read this document each year. It provides a survey of the accounting and auditing issues affecting the nonprofit world.

If you are an auditor, there are several other risk alerts you ought to be reading every year.

(Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update, since this information is useful for many CPAs.)

If you are working for a nonprofit, these alerts would give you a good survey of accounting issues in general and the audit issues your CPA will be dealing with this year.

Valuation of Gifts in Kind

Of particular interest are new comments responsive to the challenge from the California AG over valuation of GIK. The 2017 and 2016 editions had minimal comments on GIK.

The 2018 edition has a new section, Gifts-in-Kind: Reporting Contributions of Nonfinancial Assets, in paragraphs .53 through .57, which describes the AICPA’s interpretation of GAAP.

Years after the mebendazole issue has faded away, the second bullet point of paragraph .56 says that when GIK is sourced outside the U.S. and is not approved for distribution in the U.S., the meds should be valued at international prices. (If you have been following this issue for years, you realize the concession made by that comment.)

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Written by Jim Ulvog

June 11, 2018, 8:40 am at 8:40 am

Posted in Accounting, Audits

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Accounting for donated medicine drawing regulatory attention: California A.G. files 3 cease and desist orders.

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The California Attorney General has taken exception to the valuation of donated medicine by three large charities.

In March 2018 MAP International, Food for the Poor, and Catholic Medical Mission Board were served with cease and desist orders insisting the charities cease using their claims of extremely high program service percentages. The AG also seeks to revoke charitable registration status in the state for MAP and FftP. The cease and desist orders seek to impose substantial fines on the charities.

The AG also claims that FftP incorrectly applied joint cost allocation.

The filed actions alleged that financial reporting for the years 2012 through 2015 is incorrect. This would include the audited financial statements, 990s, and RRF-1s (for MAP and FftP).

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Written by Jim Ulvog

March 20, 2018, 8:33 am at 8:33 am

Posted in Accounting, Audits

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Common deficiencies in audit engagements

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Let’s look at an eight point list of common deficiencies in audits for a quick check of the quality of our engagements. Often times those lists of common deficiencies run for pages and pages, essentially covering just about every major component of an audit. Those kinds of run-on lists don’t really help.

The AICPA’s Audit Risk Alert – General Accounting and Auditing Developments – 2017/18 provides a usable list of eight most common deficiencies identified in the recent peer reviews. Pondering this list provides a good way to do a self-check of your engagements.

Here is my paraphrase of the eight points:

Incorrect dating of the auditor’s report. The report date needs to match the release date which should be after the date all the documentation has been reviewed, the financial statements been prepared, and management has taken responsibility for the financial statements. The risk alert refers to AU-C 700.41.

Inadequate documentation of sampling methodology. AU-C 530 explains how to perform a sample. The methodology must be documented or the reviewer won’t be able to understand why the audit evidence is sufficient.

Insufficient audit documentation. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Jim Ulvog

January 23, 2018, 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm

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What can you learn from a list of common auditor mistakes?

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You might learn a few things from a list of Forty Mistakes Auditors Make. If you can identify a few ways to improve your audit approach you could save time, improve the quality of your audit, and maybe reduce your risk.

Lots of auditors are in the midst of planning their year-end audits and reviews. Now would be a really good time to think about how to do better, more efficient work.

Writing at CPA Scribo, my friend Charles Hall outlines a number of goofs made by auditors. I’ll list a few tidbits in order to encourage you to read and ponder the whole list:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

January 15, 2018, 8:18 am at 8:18 am

A Halloween costume that would make any CPA pass out from fright – an auditor performing one pension plan audit

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Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com

Amid the cute little kids in their funny costumes, this pleasant Halloween night there was a grown man in a suit at the door asking for candy. White shirt, red tie, gray pinstripe.

Not so scary, thought I.

(Tale of this particular night was originally posted on October 31, 2013.)

“What are you dressed up as?”

“An auditor,” came the reply.

That’s not frightening, since I’ve been an auditor for a long time. But it did explain the standard issue uniform.

So, putting on my peer reviewer hat, I asked, “what audit work do you do?”

“Oh, only one pension plan….

.

.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

October 31, 2017, 8:33 am at 8:33 am

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Various thoughts from continuing education classes this year, part 3. Not so good news on audit and peer review quality.

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The road we CPAs need to be on, but not all of us are…
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As I’ve mentioned here and here, I have reread my notes from several continuing education classes this year. Thought I would share a variety of stray ideas.

Probably need to note again that I have not gone back and read the original pronouncements supporting each idea and therefore I do not have a specific citation for you. (Reading three of the documents is the next step for  my writing project.)

(Cross-posted from my other blog, Nonprofit Update.)

I should probably throw in a disclaimer. All of the comments I’m mentioning were the opinion of the presenter, not the agency from whom the person was drawing a paycheck. That is why I’m not mentioning the names of the presenters, or even the CPE event. In addition, the rephrasing of their comments is my interpretation, not their words.

Here are some tidbits you might enjoy:

More interest in Financial Reporting Framework for Small- and Medium-sized Entities (FRF-SME)?

The FRF-SME framework is a non-GAAP alternative to GAAP. It is dramatically less complicated with the promise it will not be revised more often every three years.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

October 5, 2017, 9:44 am at 9:44 am

Another overview of blockchain technology; time to start figuring out this stuff.

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Sure does look like this blockchain technology is going to be a big deal. Might be time to start getting our minds wrapped around the concept.

For starters, check out this short overview:

 

 

For a bit more detail:

8/4/17 – Bill Sheridan at Business Learning Institute – Block chain might remake accounting. The opportunities are huge. – Introductory article is one of the better overviews I have read. It introduces the video shown above.

One sentence description of Block chain, quoting from the article:

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Written by Jim Ulvog

August 15, 2017, 7:31 am at 7:31 am

Brain stretching accounting articles for CPAs

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Image courtesy of Dollar Photo Club before their merger into Adobe Stock.

Here are a few articles to stretch your brain when you are ready for some mental exercise:

  • Is the double-entry accounting system broken?
  • What is the recidivism rate for white-collar criminals and how could that affect my audits?
  • What  possible changes are on the horizon for the audit opinion?

5/17/17 – Tom Selling at The Accounting Onion – Double-Entry Accounting and Modern Times – As a real brain stretcher, consider whether our double-entry accounting system is fundamentally broken.

Work with me a minute while I highlight and summarize a few ideas from the article.

A basic concept of double-entry accounting is that debits on the left side of the balance sheet represent all the assets of the entity. This includes all of the resources that are available for the entity to use in order to make money and all the assets against which creditors have a claim.

On the credit side, liabilities represent all of the claims against the organization. The equity section represents the value that belongs to the owners.

Prof. Selling points out there’s a variety of problems with using the statement of financial position as a representation of economic reality.

He points out and then moves past the idea that not all debits are assets and not all credits are liabilities. That’s easy to understand.

More significantly is that not all assets are reflected as debits and not all liabilities are reflected as credits.

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Written by Jim Ulvog

June 1, 2017, 9:43 am at 9:43 am

Posted in Accounting, Audits

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