The AASB draws the roadmap to more responsive assurance standards

The AASB’s recent standard-setting activities confirmed that enhancing audit quality is an ongoing focus. As CPAs, are we fully engaged in working with the AASB to achieve this goal?

With the global focus on enhancing audit quality continuing in high gear, the proposed new strategic plan of Canada’s Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AASB) is a timely reminder of the key role the AASB plays in enhancing audit quality through its standard-setting activities.

The AASB’s ambitious current proposal is a step change, coming as it does after an intensive period in which it bolstered standards for audit, assurance and review engagements.

As well, experiences during a number of the AASB’s recent projects highlighted that characteristics of the Canadian environment (such as the large number of smaller-listed entities) will determine what international standards work best here. So the AASB is clearly hoping that stakeholders appreciate the significance of the proposals and provide strong input.

As CPAs, providing input is a responsibility we should be taking seriously to ensure that the AASB is continuing its work in the public interest. I took the liberty of putting together some thoughts on what I think the AASB might value feedback on:
  • how to enhance its gatekeeper role as an adopter of international standards, which involves considering, and reacting to, the specific circumstances of the Canadian environment
  • how to better assess the scalability of new standards so that they can be effectively applied on audits of all sizes
  • how to achieve a higher level of engagement with stakeholders so that the AASB has the evidence it needs on which to base its decisions
  • whether the criteria the AASB uses are still appropriate for determining how and to what extent it may amend international standards when adopting them in Canada
  • to what extent the AASB needs to be involved in identifying and responding to implementation challenges of new standards, including working with others to address them
Making the AASB’s proposed strategic plan a strong response in a very challenging environment depends on our profession’s input as key stakeholders and making our voice heard.

We need to provide our input by February 19, 2016, to help the AASB position itself to meet the standard-setting challenges that lie ahead for the Canadian public accounting profession.


What key elements of the AASB’s plan strike you as most important? How, in your view, can the AASB better engage with its stakeholders? What do you see as the reasons that some stakeholders are not engaged in what the AASB is doing?

Post a comment below or email me directly.

Conversations about Audit Quality is designed to create an exchange of ideas on global audit quality developments and issues and their impact in Canada.

About the Author

Eric Turner, CPA, CA

Director, Auditing and Assurance Standards, CPA Canada