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Accounting, Auditing

Firms adapting to comply with new guidelines

auditor independence standards

Accounting firms are beginning to focus on the operational changes needed to remain compliant with new auditor independence standards.

More accounting firms are addressing the impact of the new auditor independence standards on their business and are willing to make the operational changes necessary to remain compliant, according to an SMSF audit and administration software provider.

Cloudoffis head of sales Clint Estavilla said more firms were beginning to focus on the operational changes that would need to be made in order to ensure compliance with the recently restructured APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants, despite the initial confusion among many accounting firms regarding the impact of the updated guidelines.

“I think since the announcement of the [new] guidelines it’s been very much a state of play of trying to define what’s going on. From where we were in June to now, it’s starting to be a bit more firm,” Estavilla said last week during a webinar hosted by BDO Australia, Class and Cloudoffis.

“We are actually starting to see a change with firms looking at what kind of structure will ensure their compliance moving forward. If that means moving audits out, if that means trying to replace internal compliance work audits with external audits to maintain an audit division, it’s definitely at a point where people are looking at what [the new guidelines are] going to mean and what their options are.”

Class head of operations systems and compliance Morné Barnes said adapting to the updated guidelines also provided an opportunity for firms to consider their long-term strategy.

“It’s a good time at the moment to prepare early and to get ready for this and consider how you can improve,” Barnes noted.

During the seminar, BDO Australia partner Geoff Rooney pointed out audit firms were highly unlikely to be able to use the routine and mechanical provision in the new auditor independence standards as an exemption when auditing SMSFs their firm had also prepared financial statements for.

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