A technical specialist has reminded practitioners a new version of the SMSF independent auditor’s report has now been introduced to the superannuation system and must be used for audits completed on or after 1 July 2021, regardless of the financial year to which the report applies.
Accurium head of education Mark Ellem pointed out the main difference included in the new version of the report is in relation to the amended auditor independence standards contained in the current version of APES 110.
Specifically, there are two new paragraphs in the new version of the report practitioners should acknowledge, Ellem said.
“[Referring to] those new paragraphs, one is in Part A, the financial audit, and one is in Part B, the compliance engagement,” he noted during an Accurium Techhub webinar held last week.
“[The wording in each of those paragraphs] illustrate or demonstrate they are bringing home the revised audit independence guide where you are making a statement as the auditor because it is the individual auditor who will get in trouble for not complying with the revised independence guide. It’s not the firm that they work for [that will be in breach].”
Both paragraphs represent declarations neither the auditor nor the auditor’s firm assumed management responsibility for the SMSF and if either party provided any non-assurance services to the SMSF, those services were not prohibited under APES 110 and any independence issues that may have arisen had been eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level through the use of safeguards.
With regard to the implementation deadline for the new report, Ellem noted the regulator will be applying some leniency.
“There is a little one-month period of grace here where the ATO won’t take any compliance action if, as an auditor, you’re using the old audit report for the month of July ,” he said.
He also alerted practitioners to a new tool the ATO has made available that has the ability to improve the integrity of the audit process.
“Auditors can [now] lodge an audit complete advice with the ATO via ATO online services. [This is] for businesses and also allows for bulk audit complete advices,” he said.
Under the new facility, the regulator will be able to match the details, such as the name of the fund, the fund’s Australian business number and the date the audit was completed, to the information contained on the SMSF annual return, he revealed.