Final Pronouncement: Revisions to The Code Relating to The Definition of Engagement Team and Group Audits
These revisions to the Code Relating to the Definition of Engagement Team and Group Audits address holistically the various independence considerations in an audit of group financial statements. The revisions also deal with the independence and other implications of the changes made to the definition of an engagement team in the Code to align with changes to the definition of the same term in the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board’s (IAASB) International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) and International Standards on Quality Management (ISQMs).
Among other matters, the revisions:
- Strengthen and clarify the independence principles that apply to:
- Individuals involved in a group audit, including those within, or engaged by, firms that audit components within a group.
- Firms engaged in the group audit, including firms within and outside the group auditor firm’s network.
- Specify the need for, and content of, appropriate communication on independence matters between the group auditor firm and component auditor firms participating in the group audit.
- More explicitly set out the process to address a breach of an independence provision at a component auditor firm, reinforcing the importance of transparency and appropriate communication with those charged with governance of the group.
- Amend the definitions of the terms “engagement team” and “audit team” in the Code to recognize the different and evolving engagement team structures, and address the implications of those definitional changes.
- Provide guidance to facilitate the determination of who is included in an engagement team or an audit team.
- Revise the definitions of a number of existing terms and establish new defined terms with respect to independence in a group audit context.
The development of the proposals has benefited from close coordination with the IAASB’s group audits and quality management projects.
The pronouncement will be effective for audits of financial statements and group financial statements for periods beginning on or after December 15, 2023, with early adoption permitted.