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Amended standard drives audit firm interest

auditor independence third party

The need to meet new auditor independence standards has led to an increase in interest around third-party audit services.

Accounting firms looking to meet the deadline for new auditor independence standards have boosted the uptake of third party auditing services, according to one provider that has expanded its team to meet the demand.

Evolv Super Audits has reported that engagements with accounting firms had increased by 60 per cent in the second half of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019 as they move to meet the independence requirements that will come into effect on 1 July 2021.

Founder and chief executive, Ron Phipps-Ellis said the increase in engagement was for the Evolv Black SMSF audit service, a full service offering in which the firm takes full liability for audits conducted for clients.

“Accounting firms must prepare for the new SMSF audit independence requirements that come into place in mid-2021 or risk disciplinary action by ASIC,” he said.

“Our increase in enquiries and engagements demonstrates that many accounting firms are, quite sensibly, taking a pro-active approach to prepare for the new requirements.

Phipps-Ellis added Evolv will also run a multi-channel awareness campaign around the need to meet the new independence requirements to prevent accountants becoming complacent about the changes and emphasise how essential it is for them to act well in advance of the start date.

“Not all SMSF audit firms are highly scalable. Firms that delay could face challenges finding a high quality, efficient and truly independent audit service with sufficient capacity to meet their needs.

“I encourage all accountants to act now to prepare for 1 July 2021 – and have peace of mind that they will be able to comply with the new independence requirements that ensure the integrity of their SMSF audits.

As part of its preparations for an increase in demand for independent SMSF audit services Evolv has also made two new appointments to its audit team while also promoting a long-serving employee.

Carol Scholes-Robertson has been appointed to lead Evolv’s audit team in the newly created role of Director of Client Services. She joins from accountancy firm Crowe Australasia and most recently held the role of Audit and Assurance Partner as part of her 30 years of experience as an audit specialist.

Evolv has also appointed Daria Galstyan as to the newly created role of Associate Director – Audit, alongside Santa Dutta who has been with Evolv for seven years and has been promoted from Senior Audit Manager.

Galstyan joins Evolv from Crowe where she was senior manager for audit and assurance for the past four years, bringing 16 years of experience with SMSFs to the firm.

In August last year, Evolv released an audit risk identification tool which flags transactions that may require further examination allowing auditors to dig deeper into potential areas of concern.

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