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Accounting, Auditing

Tech to ease auditor independence compliance

auditor independence

Technology could play a vital role in business continuity for firms concerned about how best to adapt to new auditor independence standards in order to remain compliant.

Accounting firms more willing to embrace new technology and platforms will find it easier to navigate the effects of new auditor independence standards on their business, an SMSF audit and administration software provider has said.

Pointing to the impact of the recently restructured APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants on accounting firms and auditors, Cloudoffis head of sales Clint Estavilla noted technology could play a vital role in business continuity for firms concerned about how best to adapt in order to remain compliant.

Firms affected by the new guidelines would benefit from exploring software options that helped standardise and automate the life cycle of their SMSF clients from administration through to audit, Estavilla added.

“The likelihood is there are going to be changes for firms that are doing both the administration and audit in-house,” he said today during a Cloudoffis webinar.

“There are up to 200,000 potential funds that are going to be affected, so it’s not a small change [and] starting to look at various solutions earlier rather than later is probably a good idea.

“There’s a huge change risk in moving funds externally and in managing new relationships, [but] technology can standardise the job.”

Using software platforms that help firms manage client workflow from end to end and provide an automated process was especially beneficial for firms with SMSF clients, he said.

“SMSFs are a great example of how things can be automated because it’s such a rigorous standard process versus other parts of accounting,” he added.

He also pointed out firms had time to find an effective process and adjust to the new guidelines.

“Whilst the guidance is in place, the enforcement [of these guidelines] is unlikely to happen until next year, so that’s going to give firms effectively this financial year to manage these particular changes,” he said.

During a webinar hosted by BDO Australia, Class and Cloudoffis last week, he pointed out more accounting firms were addressing the impact of the new auditor independence standards on their business and were willing to make the operational changes necessary to remain compliant.

BDO Australia partner Geoff Rooney noted 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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