Standards digest: accounting and auditing standard-setting in Canada — August 2016

The Auditing and Assurance Standards Oversight Council is looking for new members. Plus, AASOC Chair Bill McFetridge discusses the council’s definition of the public interest.

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New AASOC members needed

The Auditing and Assurance Standards Oversight Council (AASOC) is looking for new members. It is a constantly evolving, independent volunteer body with its finger on the pulse of the ever-changing complexities of Canada’s business community. Its broad range of public interest perspectives is critical to ensuring the profession’s standards are fit for purpose in today’s environment.

Past and present AASOC members include:

• the CEO of the Canadian Public Account- ability Board;

• a senior director at the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions;

• the chief accountant at the Ontario Securities Commission; and

• senior lawyers and members in business and academia.

AASOC is looking for candidates who are passionate about playing a public interest role and have:

• some knowledge of the technical aspects of audit, other assurance and related services and independence standards;

• experience with financial reporting, audit and independence relevant to public companies, private companies, not-for- profit and/or governmental sectors; and

• a background as a financial statement preparer, auditor, audit committee member, member in academia, or another type of user perspective.

Visit www.frascanada.ca/aasocvolunteer to apply by September 9.

Q&A

AASOC and the Public Interest

All of Canada’s accounting and auditing boards and oversight councils operate in the public interest. But what exactly does this mean? The Auditing and Assurance Standards Oversight Council (AASOC) clarifies what the public interest means to it in its new paper, AASOC’s Consideration of the Public Interest.

Q: What do you hope to achieve by issuing this new paper?

A: Bill McFetridge, Chair, AASOC: AASOC’s Terms of Reference state that our mission is “to serve the public interest by overseeing and providing input to the development of auditing, assurance and independence standards in Canada.” What constitutes the public interest might seem obvious, but we’ve realized the meaning is not consistently interpreted. It is a complex concept and very difficult to define. This new paper aims to give us guidance and assistance in the determination of the public interest.

The public interest permeates everything that we do and is considered in every situation that AASOC faces in its oversight role. But the public interest is often different depending on circumstances. As a result, we don’t have a short definition for the public interest, but what we do have are a series of considerations in lieu of that short definition.

Sometimes ensuring the public interest is served is straightforward and sometimes it’s much more complex. What we ultimately find is that determining if the public interest is being served is truly a judgment call. Read AASOC’s new paper at www.frascanada.ca/AASOC.

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