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COVID-19: Key audit considerations and resources

We have compiled a summary of key audit considerations and related CPA Canada and other resources to help you understand and address the audit and assurance implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 is having significant impacts on the operations, financial results and cash flows of many organizations. Auditors need to reassess key aspects of their audits as a result of the evolving situation. Closure of offices and remote work arrangements may also impact auditors' access to information and the planned audit approach.

To help you navigate this uncertain environment, we have compiled an inventory of resources which highlight some important considerations in planning and performing your audits.

Our latest resources


Practitioner’s Pulse: Assurance implications of COVID-related government support (March 3, 2021) (On-Demand)
Join us for this webinar on the impacts of COVID-related support programs when conducting audits and reviews of annual financial statements. Includes FAQs and examples to assist you on this topic.

Special edition Practitioner's Pulse: Understanding your client – COVID-19 implications for internal controls (August 11, 2020) (On-Demand)
Hear representatives from the AASB, CPAB, and a practitioner from BDO share their perspectives on audit challenges in understanding and evaluating internal controls as a result of COVID-19 and related changes to clients' operations.

COVID-19 Implications on Going Concern Assessments (May 11, 2020) (On-Demand)
Listen to this webinar and hear representatives from the Canadian Public Accountability Board (CPAB) and the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AASB) share their perspectives about the implications of COVID-19 on going concern assessments.


Professional skepticism in a remote working environment (February 2021) (On-Demand)
In this podcast, listen to Karen Higgins, audit and assurance partner at Deloitte Canada, share perspectives and practical examples on applying professional skepticism in a remote working environment during uncertain times.


COVID-19 year-end reminders for auditors: Q&A with Canada’s audit regulator (February 23, 2021)
We know audits will be more challenging this year, but what specific matters should auditors focus on in order to deliver high-quality audits? Read this blog for key insights from CPAB’s Angelo Giardina.

Professional skepticism in a remote working environment: Advice for auditors (February 11, 2021)
We know we need professional skepticism, but what does it mean for remote audits? Read this blog and listen to our podcast to learn what Karen Higgins, audit and assurance partner at Deloitte Canada, had to say.

Auditing government assistance: Are you prepared? (December 3, 2020)
Learn how the receipt of government assistance by your clients may impact your engagements this year. This blog shares important reminders and considerations for auditors whose clients have been impacted by these new programs.

Implementing CAS 540 revised standards during COVID-19: Q&A with Josee Delli Colli (September 29, 2020)
The revised standard, CAS 540, includes several changes that auditors will need to understand and implement. Josee Delli Colli, CPA, CA, of Richter, discusses how they are implementing these changes during a pandemic, including where scalability may arise.

The effects of COVID-19 on your client, their internal controls, and the audit (July 20, 2020)
Learn how your clients' controls may be impacted, your responsibilities as the auditor, and practical audit considerations to help you in this ever-changing and unstable environment.

The Changing Nature of Audit Evidence Arising from COVID-19 (May 19, 2020) 
COVID-19 has forced auditors to work differently. Learn about the changing nature of audit evidence and related considerations for auditors to support the performance of high-quality audits in the current environment.

COVID-19 and Interim Reporting (May 11, 2020) 
Get a better understanding of the current challenges management and auditors face for calendar year-end companies heading into the first reporting period of 2020. We also cover important interim reporting reminders in light of COVID-19.

COVID-19 and Going Concern Impacts (April 27, 2020) 
COVID-19-related events may cause a deterioration in an entity's operating results and financial position, affecting its ability to continue as a going concern. Learn how to address the audit challenges that arise from these conditions.


Audit and Assurance Alert: SOC 1 and SOC 2 Issues Arising from COVID-19 (May 2020)
Learn about the issues arising from COVID-19 related to performing system and organization controls (SOC) engagements.

Key audit considerations

This publication highlights some key considerations for auditors and references to relevant standards, as well as links to CPA Canada and other guidance to help you manage some of the auditing implications of COVID-19. The following areas are covered:

  • sufficiency and appropriateness of audit evidence (including inventory counts and confirmations)
  • understanding the entity and its environment, and the planned audit approach
  • accounting estimates
  • professional skepticism
  • material misstatement due to fraud
  • group audits
  • subsequent events
  • going concern (including material uncertainty)
  • an entity's non-compliance with laws and regulations (NOCLAR)
  • auditor reporting

This publication also links to IAASB Staff Audit Practice Alerts on some of the topics listed above, including subsequent events, going concern, and auditor reporting.

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External resources


Audit regulators: 

CPAB COVID-19 Insights
Canadian Public Accountability Board

PCAOB Response to COVID-19
Public Company Accounting Oversight Board

FRC COVID-19 Response
Financial Reporting Council, UK

Guidance on the implications of COVID-19 relating to audits of financial statements
Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors, South Africa

Securities regulators:

COVID-19 Updates from CSA
Canadian Securities Administrators

SEC Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Standards setters, professional bodies and others

FRAS Canada News Listing: Standard-setting Update – Prioritizing, supporting, and maintaining community during COVID-19
Financial Reporting & Assurance Standards Canada

IFAC Summary of COVID-19 Audit Considerations
International Federation of Accountants

IAASB Guidance for auditors during the coronavirus pandemic
International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board

AICPA Coronavirus (COVID-19) audit and accounting resources
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

AUASB Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance
Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards Board

ICAEW Coronavirus (COVID-19) hub
The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales

ACCA Coronavirus: Sources of advice and information
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

NOTE: Resources created by external organizations were not reviewed, developed or approved by CPA Canada. CPA Canada accepts no responsibility or liability that might occur directly or indirectly as a consequence of the use, application or reliance on these external resources.