IESBA eNews: March 2012

Mar 27, 2012 | English


1. IESBA Revises 2012 Strategy
2. Responding to a Suspected Illegal Act
3. Breach of a Requirement of the Code
4. IESBA Proposes Changes to the Definition of “Engagement Team”
5. Upcoming Meetings
6. Share Ethics eNews with Your Colleagues


1. IESBA Revises 2012 Strategy

The IESBA has agreed on a revision to its strategy and activities for 2012. Its revised strategy calls for the board to undertake the following activities in 2012:

Rotation—The IESBA will consider firm rotation and also whether the position of the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (the Code) on partner rotation remains appropriate, including whether the requirement to rotate off the audit engagement after serving seven years as a key audit partner and observe a two-year time-out period continues to be appropriate.

Non-assurance services—The IESBA will consider whether the Code's position on non-assurance services remains appropriate, including the use of materiality, and, if so, whether guidance should be provided for applying the materiality test. If certain non-assurance services are permitted, the IESBA might also consider whether they should be subject to pre-approval by those charged with governance, restricted in size in relation to the audit fee, or publicly disclosed.

Structure of the Code—The IESBA will determine how to increase the visibility of the requirements and prohibitions in the Code and clarify who is responsible for meeting them.

Part C of the Code—The IESBA will determine whether recent corporate accounting irregularities reveal ethical implications for professional accountants in business (PAIBs) and whether part C of the Code should be strengthened to provide PAIBs with more guidance and support.

These matters will be discussed initially at the IESBA's June 2012 meeting. Depending upon the positions reached, the IESBA ultimately may propose revisions to the Code.


2. Responding to a Suspected Illegal Act

At its February 2012 meeting, the IESBA discussed its position on how a professional accountant should respond to a suspected illegal act. The IESBA agreed on the following:

  • An auditor and a professional accountant in public practice providing non-assurance services to an audit client should be required to disclose to an appropriate authority suspected illegal acts that affect financial reporting or fall within the expertise of the professional accountant. This requirement would apply when the suspected illegal act is of such consequence that disclosure would be in the public interest and the client has not done so. 
  • Accountants performing non-assurance services for non-assurance clients and accountants in business should be required to disclose the matter to the external auditor. If the response to the matter is not appropriate, the accountant would be expected to exercise his right to disclose the matter to an appropriate authority. 
  • Exceptional circumstances may exist where a reasonable and informed third party would conclude that it is not in the public interest to make such disclosure because the probable consequences, such as the risk to the personal safety of the professional accountant or other individuals, would outweigh the benefits of disclosure.

The IESBA expects to approve an exposure draft on this subject at its next meeting in April.


3. Breach of a Requirement of the Code

At its February 2012 meeting, the IESBA began discussing responses to the Exposure Draft proposing a new framework for addressing a breach of a requirement of the Code. The IESBA noted:

  • Respondents are supportive of the Code addressing breaches.
  • Respondents expressed mixed views on whether all independence breaches should be reported as soon as possible to those charged with governance; a majority felt that all breaches should be reported while a minority felt that breaches that were not significant need not be reported.
  • Many respondents commented on the timing of such reporting, including that insignificant breaches not be required to be reported as soon as possible.

The IESBA tentatively concluded that all breaches should be reported to those charged with governance, but it may be appropriate to have some flexibility on the timing of reporting less significant breaches. The IESBA will continue considering comment submissions at its June meeting


4. IESBA Proposes Changes to the Definition of “Engagement Team”

At its February 2012 meeting, the IESBA approved an exposure draft to revise the definition of “engagement team” to make it clear that internal auditors providing direct assistance to an external auditor are not considered to be part of the audit engagement team under the Code and eliminate the perception that the Code and ISA 610, Using the Work of Internal Auditors are in conflict. The comment deadline is May 30, 2012.


5. Upcoming Meetings

Meetings of the IESBA and the IESBA Consultative Advisory Group (CAG) are open to the public. The IESBA next meets by conference call on April 19, 2012, from 7:00–10:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time and, in person, June 18–20, 2012 in New York, USA. For more information and to register to attend an IESBA meeting as an observer, visit IESBA Meetings.

The next IESBA CAG meeting will be held on September 12, 2012 in New York, USA. For more information, visit IESBA CAG Meetings.


6. Share Ethics eNews with Your Colleagues

The IESBA issues regular eNews updates to help keep you informed of its activities and recent publications. Please forward this eNews to any interested colleagues and advise them that they can subscribe to receive IESBA eNews by following these simple steps:

  • Register a new account or log in to your existing IFAC web account. 
  • Go to My Subscriptions to manage your subscription preferences. 
  • Select "Ethics eNews" from the check list, as well as any other newsletters or press releases that you would like to receive.

Primary tabs

Thank you for your interest in our publications. These valuable works are the product of substantial time, effort and resources, which you acknowledge by accepting the following terms of use. You may not reproduce, store, transmit in any form or by any means, with the exception of non-commercial use (e.g., professional and personal reference and research work), translate, modify or create derivative works or adaptations based on such publications, or any part thereof, without the prior written permission of IFAC.

Our reproduction and translation policies, as well as our online permission request and inquiry system, are accessible on the Permissions Information web page.

For additional information, please read our website Terms of Use. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.