The professional engagement guide: what you need to know

CPA Canada’s professional engagement guide offers case studies outlining how elements of the audit process can be documented in practice.

CPA Canada’s Professional Engagement Guide (PEG) provides a competitive advantage for small to medium-sized accounting firms. That’s the view of Tracy Capstick, CPA, CA, and partner at Bazar McBean LLP, a full-service public accounting firm in Oakville, Ont.


“As a small firm of about 20, we don’t have a group developing resources,” says Capstick. “We’ve always worked with the Canadian Professional Engagement Manual (C•PEM), the predecessor to PEG, and we will be using the new forms and checklists to guide our assurance work.”


Capstick is not alone. Within the first month of PEG’s release in August 2017, there were more than 15,000 views of the publication.


Other tools offered in PEG include:

• step-by-step guidance on completing audit, review and compilation engagements that address standards requirements.

• case studies outlining how the elements of the audit process can be documented in practice.

• more than 40 new review engagement forms and two new sample review engagement letters based on the requirements of the new Canadian Standard on Review Engagements (CSRE 2400). These templates are available in Word or Excel so you can customize them for particular types of engagements and industries.

• model financial statements for private enterprises and private sector not-for-profit organizations.

• A Guide to Other Practice Areas, which provides guidance on topics such as management consulting, future-oriented financial information, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act and the Personal Information Protection and Electronics Documents Act.

• subscribers to the online version receive access to the PEG resource centre landing page on, which contains more links, tools and resources for practitioners. This resource centre will help practitioners stay up to date on recently issued guidance for new and complex standards.


Capstick, who at the time of writing was in the process of integrating the new tools, sees PEG changing her firm’s approach to the audit. “The forms lead you to a lot more upfront planning work and discussion with management at the outset to better understand the business and where the risk areas are,” she says. “This will result in a more efficient audit, and it also means we’ll be able to take on more of an advisory role and not just do the audit. We’ll be able to provide insights the client might not otherwise have and an overall better service to our clients.”


When asked about the guidance she feels will have the most impact for her firm in performing audits, Capstick does not hesitate. “The forms focused on risk are most valuable for us because they help us take a step back and view the audit through a wider lens.


“Looking at the audit or assurance engagement from a higher level allows you to identify those things you may not see when you are focused on the details,” she says. “With this new approach, we’ll be doing that at the start.”


An additional benefit: the overall business discussion with management and partners will help with the development of junior staff. “It gives [staff] a better understanding of the challenges the client is facing and how they could impact the audit,” says Capstick.


For practitioners who have never used PEG, Capstick recommends viewing the first year as a transition to a new, more thoughtful approach to the audit.


She also suggests adjusting scheduling to allow for more time in the up-front planning phase, which will likely save time in the later stages.


For her part, Capstick is eager to move forward. “The approach is a nice change. It gets us in front of our clients earlier. I’m excited to get started.”


To subscribe, access subscription products such as PEG or to find quick links to other free helpful resources, visit or