Today, the Staff of the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) released the report, Benchmarking International Independence Standards Phase 1 Report: Comparison of IESBA and US SEC/PCAOB Frameworks. The publication details the findings of a study comparing the provisions of the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) (the Code)—in particular the independence provisions applicable to audits of financial statements of public interest entities (PIEs)—with the relevant rules of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB).
“Considerable advances have been made in recent years to strengthen the International Independence Standards, further reinforcing the important role of the independent audit to the integrity of financial markets worldwide,” said IESBA Chair Gabriela Figueiredo Dias. “This timely benchmarking analysis answers many questions we have received and provides much insight into how the provisions in the Code compare with those of a major jurisdiction like the U.S., and will ultimately instill greater public confidence in the robustness of the Code.”
The IESBA launched the benchmarking study to promote awareness and further adoption of the Code. Without making judgments as to the relative merits of the two independence frameworks, the report highlights the similarities and key differences between the Code and the U.S. SEC and PCAOB rules in areas of greatest interest to stakeholders, including the permissibility of non-assurance services to audit clients, fees, long association with an audit client, and business and financial relationships. The IESBA will consider the findings of the benchmarking analysis in developing its 2024-2027 Strategy and Work Plan.
Alongside the detailed report, the IESBA Staff has published an abridged report that provides an overview of the main similarities and differences, as well as an additional publication with further information on the background and objectives of the initiative.
Learn more on the IESBA website.