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Review Engagements

ASRE 2400

Review of a Financial Report Performed by an Assurance Practitioner Who is Not the Auditor of the Entity

Download Current Version

Approval Date: 30 May 2017

Operative Date This Review Engagements is operative for financial reporting periods commencing on or after 1 January 2018

Download Current Version

Approval Date: 30 May 2017

This Standard on Review Engagements (ASRE) deals with the assurance practitioner’s responsibilities when engaged to perform a review of historical financial statements, when the assurance practitioner is not the auditor of the entity’s financial statements; and the form and content of the assurance practitioner’s report on the financial statements.

Preamble

Includes: Preface, Authority Statement, Conformity with International Standards on Auditing

Preface

Reasons for Issuing ASRE 2400

The AUASB issues Standard on Review Engagements ASRE 2400 Review of a Financial Report Performed by an Assurance Practitioner Who is Not the Auditor of the Entity pursuant to the requirements of the legislative provisions explained below.

The AUASB is a Non Corporate Commonwealth Entity established under section 227A of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001, as amended (ASIC Act).  Under section 227B of the ASIC Act, the AUASB may formulate Assurance Standards for purposes other than the corporations legislation.

Main Features

This Standard on Review Engagements establishes requirements and provides application and other explanatory material regarding the assurance practitioner’s responsibilities when accepting, conducting and reporting on an engagement to review a financial report or a complete set of financial statements. 

ASRE 2400 is to be used by an assurance practitioner who is not the auditor of the entity.  The assurance practitioner’s objectives are to obtain limited assurance, primarily by performing enquiry and analytical procedures; and to report on the financial report as a whole and communicate as required by this standard.

This standard is intended to supersede ASRE 2400 Review of a Financial Report Performed by an Assurance Practitioner Who is Not the Auditor of the Entity (issued March 2013).

Background

ASRE 2400 will continue to form an integral part of the suite of AUASB standards applicable to review engagements.  In view of the differing nature of review engagements, the AUASB remains committed to issuing separate standards that are tailored to the circumstances of the engagement.

For background information on the AUASB’s  approach to issuing limited assurance standards; an overview of the various AUASB standards applicable to review engagements; and the main criteria to be considered in determining the appropriate standard, refer to: Explanatory Guide to AUASB Standards Applicable to Review Engagements

Authority Statement

The Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AUASB) formulates this Standard on Review Engagements ASRE 2400 Review of a Financial Report Performed by an Assurance Practitioner Who is Not the Auditor of the Entity, pursuant to section 227B of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001.

 

This Standard on Review Engagements is to be read in conjunction with ASA 100 Preamble to AUASB Standards, which sets out the intentions of the AUASB on how the AUASB Standards are to be understood, interpreted and applied.

Conformity with International Standards on Auditing

This Standard on Review Engagements conforms with International Standard on Review Engagements ISRE 2400 Engagements to Review Historical Financial Statements issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB), an independent standard‑setting board of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

Paragraphs that have been added to this Standard on Review Engagements (and do not appear in the text of the equivalent ISRE) are identified with the prefix “Aus”.

Introductory Paragraph Aus 3.1 directs assurance practitioners to conduct reviews of other historical financial information in accordance with ASRE 2405 Review of Historical Financial Information Other than a Financial Report

The following requirements are additional to ISRE 2400:

  • Paragraph 46: The assurance practitioner’s understanding shall include the following:
    1. to (d) …
  • Aus 46.1 (e) Internal control as it relates to the preparation of the financial statements.
  • Paragraph Aus 53.1: In evaluating management’s assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, the assurance practitioner shall consider the relevant period, which may be the same or may differ from that used by management to make its assessment as required by the applicable financial reporting framework. If management’s assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern covers less than the relevant period, the assurance practitioner shall request management to correspond to the relevant period used by the assurance practitioner.
  • Paragraph Aus 53.2: Relevant period means the period of approximately 12 months from the date of the assurance practitioner’s current report, and if applicable, to the expected date of the assurance practitioner’s report for:
    1. the next annual reporting period in the case of an annual financial report; or
    2. the corresponding reporting period for the following year in the case of an interim reporting period.
  • Paragraph Aus 87.1: If adequate disclosure is made in the financial report, the assurance practitioner shall add an Emphasis of Matter paragraph to the assurance practitioner’s report, to highlight a material uncertainty, including one or more material uncertainties relating to an event(s) or condition(s) that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.
  • Paragraph Aus 92.1: The assurance practitioner’s report shall be dated as of the date the assurance practitioner signs that report.

 

This Standard on Review Engagements incorporates terminology and definitions used in Australia.

The equivalent requirements and related application and other explanatory material included in ISRE 2400 in respect of “relevant ethical requirements”, have been included in Auditing Standard, ASA 102 Compliance with Ethical Requirements when Performing Audits, Reviews and Other Assurance Engagements.  There is no international equivalent to ASA 102.

[Aus] Appendix 1A contains an illustrative written representation letter and is additional to the appendices contained in ISRE 2400.

Compliance with this Standard on Review Engagements enables compliance with ISRE 2400

Application

Aus 0.1

This Standard on Review Engagements (ASRE) applies to a review of a financial report, or a complete set of financial statements, comprising historical financial information, performed by an assurance practitioner who is not the auditor of the entity.

Operative Date

Aus 0.2

This Standard on Review Engagements is operative for financial reporting periods commencing on or after 1 January 2018.  Early adoption is permitted.

Introduction

Includes: Scope of this Auditing Standard, The Engagement to Review Historical Financial Statements , Authority of this ASRE , Effective Date

Scope of this Auditing Standard

1

This Standard on Review Engagements (ASRE) deals with: (Ref: Para. A1)

  1. The assurance practitioner’s responsibilities when engaged to perform a review of historical financial statements, when the assurance practitioner is not the auditor of the entity’s financial statements; and
  2. The form and content of the assurance practitioner’s report on the financial statements.

2

This ASRE does not address a review of an entity’s financial statements or interim financial information performed by an assurance practitioner who is the independent auditor of the entity’s financial statements (Ref: Para. A2)[*]

3

[Deleted by the AUASB. Refer Aus 3.1]

Aus 3.1

Reviews of other historical financial information are performed under ASRE 2405.[#]  Limited assurance engagements other than reviews of historical financial information are performed under ASAE 3000.[1]

Relationship with ASQC 1[2]

4

Quality control systems, policies and procedures are the responsibility of the firm. ASQC 1 applies to firms of assurance practitioners in respect of a firm’s engagements to review financial statements.[3] The provisions of this ASRE regarding quality control at the level of individual review engagements are premised on the basis that the firm is subject to ASQC 1. (Ref: Para. A3–A5)

The Engagement to Review Historical Financial Statements

5

The review of historical financial statements is a limited assurance engagement, as described in the Framework for Assurance Engagements (the Assurance Framework).[4] (Ref: Para. A6–A7)

6

In a review of financial statements, the assurance practitioner expresses a conclusion that is designed to enhance the degree of confidence of intended users regarding the preparation of an entity’s financial statements in accordance with an applicable financial reporting framework. The assurance practitioner’s conclusion is based on the assurance practitioner obtaining limited assurance. The assurance practitioner’s report includes a description of the nature of a review engagement as context for the readers of the report to be able to understand the conclusion.

7

The assurance practitioner performs primarily enquiry and analytical procedures to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence as the basis for a conclusion on the financial statements as a whole, expressed in accordance with the requirements of this ASRE.

8

If the assurance practitioner becomes aware of a matter that causes the assurance practitioner to believe the financial statements may be materially misstated, the assurance practitioner designs and performs additional procedures, as the assurance practitioner considers necessary in the circumstances, to be able to conclude on the financial statements in accordance with this ASRE.

Authority of this ASRE

9

This ASRE contains the objectives of the assurance practitioner in following the ASRE which provide the context in which the requirements of this ASRE are set, and are intended to assist the assurance practitioner in understanding what needs to be accomplished in a review engagement.

10

The ASRE contains requirements, expressed using “shall,” that are designed to enable the assurance practitioner to meet the stated objectives.

11

In addition, this ASRE contains introductory material, definitions, and application and other explanatory material, that provide context relevant to a proper understanding of the ASRE.

12

The application and other explanatory material provides further explanation of the requirements and guidance for carrying them out. While such guidance does not itself impose a requirement, it is relevant to the proper application of the requirements. The application and other explanatory material may also provide background information on matters addressed in this ASRE that assists in the application of the requirements.

Effective Date

13

[Deleted by the AUASB.  Refer Aus 0.2]

*_1

See Standard on Review Engagements ASRE 2410 Review of a Financial Report Performed by the Independent Auditor of the Entity, as amended.

#_1

See Standard on Review Engagements ASRE 2405 Review of Historical Financial Information Other than a Financial Report.

1

Standard on Assurance Engagements ASAE 3000, Assurance Engagements Other than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information.

2

Standard on Quality Control ASQC 1, Quality Control for Firms that Perform Audits and Reviews of Financial Reports and Other Financial Information, and Other Assurance Engagements, as amended.

3

See ASQC 1, paragraph Aus 0.1.

4

See Framework for Assurance Engagements, paragraphs Aus 7.5 and 11. 

Objectives

14

The assurance practitioner’s objectives in a review of financial statements under this ASRE are to:

  1. Obtain limited assurance, primarily by performing enquiry and analytical procedures, about whether the financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement, thereby enabling the assurance practitioner to express a conclusion on whether anything has come to the assurance practitioner’s attention that causes the assurance practitioner to believe that financial statements are not prepared, in all material respects, in a accordance with an applicable financial reporting framework; and
  2. Report on the financial statements as a whole and communicate, as required by this ASRE.

15

In all cases when limited assurance cannot be obtained and a qualified conclusion in the assurance practitioner’s report is insufficient in the circumstances, this ASRE requires that the assurance practitioner disclaim a conclusion in the report issued for the engagement or, where appropriate, withdraw from the engagement if withdrawal is possible under applicable law or regulation. (Ref. Para. A8‑A10, A121‑A122)

Definitions

16

The AUASB Glossary[5] (the Glossary) includes the terms defined in this ASRE as well as descriptions of other terms used in this ASRE, to assist in consistent application and interpretation. For example, the terms “management” and “those charged with governance” used throughout this ASRE are as defined in the Glossary. (Ref: Para. A11–A12)

17

For purposes of this ASRE, the following terms have the meanings attributed below:

17(a)

Analytical procedures―Evaluations of financial information through analysis of plausible relationships among both financial and non‑financial data. Analytical procedures also encompass such investigation as is necessary of identified fluctuations or relationships that are inconsistent with other relevant information or that differ from expected values by a significant amount.

17(b)

Engagement risk―The risk that the assurance practitioner expresses an inappropriate conclusion when the financial statements are materially misstated.

17(c)

General purpose financial statements―Financial statements prepared in accordance with a general purpose framework.

17(d)

General purpose framework―A financial reporting framework designed to meet the common financial needs of a wide range of users. The financial reporting framework may be a fair presentation framework or a compliance framework.

17(e)

Enquiry―Enquiry consists of seeking information of knowledgeable persons from within or outside the entity.

17(f)

Limited assurance―The level of assurance obtained where engagement risk is reduced to a level that is acceptable in the circumstances of the engagement, but where that risk is greater than for a reasonable assurance engagement, as the basis for expressing a conclusion in accordance with this ASRE. The combination of the nature, timing and extent of evidence gathering procedures is at least sufficient for the assurance practitioner to obtain a meaningful level of assurance. To be meaningful, the level of assurance obtained by the assurance practitioner is likely to enhance the intended users’ confidence about the financial statements. (Ref: Para. A13)

17(g)

[Deleted by the AUASB.  Refer Aus 17.1(l)]

17(h)

Professional judgement―The application of relevant training, knowledge and experience, within the context provided by assurance, accounting and ethical standards, in making informed decisions about the courses of action that are appropriate in the circumstances of the review engagement.

17(i)

[Deleted by the AUASB.  Refer Aus 17.1(o)]

17(j)

Special purpose financial statements―Financial statements prepared in accordance with a special purpose framework.

17(k)

Special purpose framework―A financial reporting framework designed to meet the financial information needs of specific users. The financial reporting framework may be a fair presentation framework or a compliance framework.

Aus 17.1

  1. Assurance Practitioner―A person or an organisation, whether in public practice, industry, commerce or the public sector, providing assurance services. The term includes the engagement partner or other members of the engagement team, or, as applicable, the firm. Where this ASRE expressly intends that a requirement or responsibility be fulfilled by the engagement partner, the term “engagement partner” rather than “assurance practitioner” is used. “Engagement partner” and “firm” are to be read as referring to their public sector equivalents where relevant.
  2. Complete Set of Financial Statements―financial statements and related notes as determined by the requirements of the applicable financial reporting framework.
  3. Financial Statements―complete set of financial statements or a financial report.
  4. Financial Report―a complete set of financial statements, including the related notes, and an assertion statement by those responsible for the financial report.
  5. Relevant ethical requirements―relevant ethical requirements as described in ASA 102 Compliance with Ethical Requirements when Performing Audits, Reviews and Other Assurance Engagements, as amended.

5

The AUASB Glossary issued by the AUASB.

Requirements

Includes: Conduct of a Review Engagement in Accordance with this ASRE , Ethical Requirements , Professional Scepticism and Professional Judgement , Engagement Level Quality Control , Acceptance and Continuance of Client Relationships and Review Engagements , Communication with Management and Those Charged with Governance , Performing the Engagement , Subsequent Events , Written Representations , Evaluating Evidence Obtained from the Procedures Performed , Forming the Assurance Practitioner’s Conclusion on the Financial Statements , The Assurance Practitioner’s Report , Documentation

Complying with Relevant Requirements

19

The assurance practitioner shall comply with each requirement of this ASRE, unless a requirement is not relevant to the review engagement. A requirement is relevant to the review engagement when the circumstances addressed by the requirement exist.

20

The assurance practitioner shall not represent compliance with this ASRE in the assurance practitioner’s report unless the assurance practitioner has complied with all the requirements of this ASRE relevant to the review engagement.

25

The engagement partner shall take responsibility for: (Ref: Para. A27–A30)

  1. The overall quality of each review engagement to which that partner is assigned;
  2. The direction, supervision, planning and performance of the review engagement in compliance with professional standards and applicable legal and regulatory requirements; (Ref: Para. A31)
  3. The assurance practitioner’s report being appropriate in the circumstances; and
  4. The engagement being performed in accordance with the firm’s quality control policies, including the following:
    1. Being satisfied that appropriate procedures regarding the acceptance and continuance of client relationships and engagements have been followed, and that conclusions reached are appropriate, including considering whether there is information that would lead the engagement partner to conclude that management lacks integrity; (Ref: Para. A32–A33)
    2. Being satisfied that the engagement team collectively has the appropriate competence and capabilities, including assurance skills and techniques and expertise in financial reporting, to:
      1. Perform the review engagement in accordance with professional standards and applicable legal and regulatory requirements; and
      2. Enable a report that is appropriate in the circumstances to be issued; and
    3. Taking responsibility for appropriate engagement documentation being maintained.

Relevant Considerations after Engagement Acceptance

26

If the engagement partner obtains information that would have caused the firm to decline the engagement had that information been available earlier, the engagement partner shall communicate that information promptly to the firm, so that the firm and the engagement partner can take the necessary action.

Compliance with Relevant Ethical Requirements

27

Throughout the engagement, the engagement partner shall remain alert, through observation and making enquiries as necessary, for evidence of non‑compliance with relevant ethical requirements by members of the engagement team.  If matters come to the engagement partner’s attention through the firm’s system of quality control or otherwise that indicate that members of the engagement team have not complied with relevant ethical requirements, the engagement partner, in consultation with others in the firm, shall determine the appropriate action.

Monitoring

28

An effective system of quality control for a firm includes a monitoring process designed to provide the firm with reasonable assurance that the firm’s policies and procedures relating to the system of quality control are relevant, adequate and operate effectively.  The engagement partner shall consider the results of the firm’s monitoring process as evidenced in the latest information circulated by the firm and, if applicable, other network firms and whether deficiencies noted in that information may affect the review engagement.

Acceptance and Continuance of Client Relationships and Review Engagements

Factors Affecting Acceptance and Continuance of Client Relationships and Review Engagements

29

Unless required by law or regulation, the assurance practitioner shall not accept a review engagement if: (Ref: Para. A34–A35)

  1. The assurance practitioner is not satisfied:
    1. That there is a rational purpose for the engagement; or (Ref: Para. A36)
    2. That a review engagement would be appropriate in the circumstances; (Ref: Para. A37)
  2. The assurance practitioner has reason to believe that relevant ethical requirements, including independence, will not be satisfied;
  3. The assurance practitioner’s preliminary understanding of the engagement circumstances indicates that information needed to perform the review engagement is likely to be unavailable or unreliable; (Ref: Para. A38)
  4. The assurance practitioner has cause to doubt management’s integrity such that it is likely to affect proper performance of the review; or (Ref: Para. A37(b))
  5. Management or those charged with governance impose a limitation on the scope of the assurance practitioner’s work in the terms of a proposed review engagement such that the assurance practitioner believes the limitation will result in the assurance practitioner disclaiming a conclusion on the financial statements.

Preconditions for Accepting a Review Engagement

30

Prior to accepting a review engagement, the assurance practitioner shall: (Ref: Para. A39)

  1. Determine whether the financial reporting framework applied in the preparation of the financial statements is acceptable including, in the case of special purpose financial statements, obtaining an understanding of the purpose for which the financial statements are prepared and of the intended users; and (Ref: Para. A40–A46)
  2. Obtain the agreement of management that it acknowledges and understands its responsibilities: (Ref: Para. A47–A50)
    1. For preparation of the financial statements in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework, including, where relevant, their fair presentation;
    2. For such internal control as management determines is necessary to enable the preparation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error; and
    3. To provide the assurance practitioner with:
      1. Access to all information of which management is aware that is relevant to the preparation of the financial statements, such as records, documentation and other matters;
      2. Additional information that the assurance practitioner may request from management for the purpose of the review; and
      3. Unrestricted access to persons within the entity from whom the assurance practitioner determines it necessary to obtain evidence.

31

If the assurance practitioner is not satisfied as to any of the matters set out above as preconditions for accepting a review engagement, the assurance practitioner shall discuss the matter with management or those charged with governance.  If changes cannot be made to satisfy the assurance practitioner as to those matters, the assurance practitioner shall not accept the proposed engagement unless required by law or regulation to do so.  However, an engagement conducted under such circumstances does not comply with this ASRE. Accordingly, the assurance practitioner shall not include any reference within the assurance practitioner’s report to the review having been conducted in accordance with this ASRE.

32

If it is discovered after the engagement has been accepted that the assurance practitioner is not satisfied as to any of the above preconditions, the assurance practitioner shall discuss the matter with management or those charged with governance, and shall determine:

  1. Whether the matter can be resolved;
  2. Whether it is appropriate to continue with the engagement; and
  3. Whether and, if so, how to communicate the matter in the assurance practitioner’s report.

Additional Considerations When the Wording of the Assurance Practitioner’s Report Is Prescribed by Law or Regulation

33

The assurance practitioner’s report issued for the review engagement shall refer to this ASRE only if the report complies with the requirements of paragraph 86.

Agreeing the Terms of Engagement

36

The assurance practitioner shall agree the terms of the engagement with management or those charged with governance, as appropriate, prior to performing the engagement.

37

The agreed terms of engagement shall be recorded in an engagement letter or other suitable form of written agreement, and shall include: (Ref: Para. A52–A54, A56)

  1. The intended use and distribution of the financial statements, and any restrictions on use or distribution where applicable;
  2. Identification of the applicable financial reporting framework;
  3. The objective and scope of the review engagement;
  4. The responsibilities of the assurance practitioner;
  5. The responsibilities of management, including those in paragraph 30(b); (Ref: Para. A47–A50, A55)
  6. A statement that the engagement is not an audit, and that the assurance practitioner will not express an audit opinion on the financial statements; and
  7. Reference to the expected form and content of the report to be issued by the assurance practitioner, and a statement that there may be circumstances in which the report may differ from its expected form and content.

Recurring Engagements

Acceptance of a Change in the Terms of the Review Engagement

41

If the terms of engagement are changed during the course of the engagement, the assurance practitioner and management or those charged with governance, as appropriate, shall agree on and record the new terms of the engagement in an engagement letter or other suitable form of written agreement.

Performing the Engagement

Materiality in a Review of Financial Statements

The Assurance Practitioner’s Understanding

46

The assurance practitioner’s understanding shall include the following: (Ref: Para. A78, A87, A90)

  1. Relevant industry, regulatory, and other external factors including the applicable financial reporting framework;
  2. The nature of the entity, including:
    1. Its operations;
    2. Its ownership and governance structure;
    3. The types of investments that the entity is making and plans to make;
    4. The way that the entity is structured and how it is financed; and
    5. The entity’s objectives and strategies;
  3. The entity’s accounting systems and accounting records;
  4. The entity’s selection and application of accounting policies; and

Aus 46.1(e)

Internal control as it relates to the preparation of the financial statements.

Designing and Performing Procedures

47

In obtaining sufficient appropriate evidence as the basis for a conclusion on the financial statements as a whole, the assurance practitioner shall design and perform enquiry and analytical procedures: (Ref: Para. A79–A83, A87, A90)

  1. To address all material items in the financial statements, including disclosures; and
  2. To focus on addressing areas in the financial statements where material misstatements are likely to arise.

48

The assurance practitioner’s enquiries of management and others within the entity, as appropriate, shall include the following: (Ref: Para. A84–A88)

  1. How management makes the significant accounting estimates required under the applicable financial reporting framework;
  2. The identification of related parties and related party transactions, including the purpose of those transactions;
  3. Whether there are significant, unusual or complex transactions, events or matters that have affected or may affect the entity’s financial statements, including:
    1. Significant changes in the entity’s business activities or operations;
    2. Significant changes to the terms of contracts that materially affect the entity’s financial statements, including terms of finance and debt contracts or covenants;
    3. Significant journal entries or other adjustments to the financial statements;
    4. Significant transactions occurring or recognised near the end of the reporting period;
    5. The status of any uncorrected misstatements identified during previous engagements; and
    6. Effects or possible implications for the entity of transactions or relationships with related parties;
  4. The existence of any actual, suspected or alleged:
    1. Fraud or illegal acts affecting the entity; and
    2. Non-compliance with provisions of laws and regulations that are generally recognised to have a direct effect on the determination of material amounts and disclosures in the financial statements, such as tax and superannuation laws and regulations;
  5. Whether management has identified and addressed events occurring between the date of the financial statements and the date of the assurance practitioner’s report that require adjustment of, or disclosure in, the financial statements;
  6. The basis for management’s assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern; (Ref: Para. A89)
  7. Whether there are events or conditions that appear to cast doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern;
  8. Material commitments, contractual obligations or contingencies that have affected or may affect the entity’s financial statements, including disclosures; and
  9. Material non-monetary transactions or transactions for no consideration in the financial reporting period under consideration.

Procedures to Address Specific Circumstances

Related parties

50

During the review, the assurance practitioner shall remain alert for arrangements or information that may indicate the existence of related party relationships or transactions that management has not previously identified or disclosed to the assurance practitioner.

51

If the assurance practitioner identifies significant transactions outside the entity’s normal course of business in the course of performing the review, the assurance practitioner shall enquire of management about:

  1. The nature of those transactions;
  2. Whether related parties could be involved; and
  3. The business rationale (or lack thereof) of those transactions.

Fraud and non‑compliance with laws and regulations

52

When there is an indication that fraud or non-compliance with laws and regulations, or suspected fraud a non-compliance with laws and regulations, has occurred in the entity, the assurance practitioner shall:

  1. Communicate that matter, unless prohibited by law and regulation, with the appropriate level of management or those charged with governance as appropriate; (Ref: Para. A93)
  2. Request management’s assessment of the effect(s), if any, on the financial statements;
  3. Consider the effect, if any, of management’s assessment of the effects of identified or suspected fraud or non-compliance with laws and regulations communicated to the assurance practitioner on the assurance practitioner’s conclusion on the financial statements and on the assurance practitioner’s report; and
  4. Determine whether law, regulation or relevant ethical requirements: (Ref: Para. A94-A98)
    1. Require the assurance practitioner to report to an appropriate authority outside the entity.
    2. Establish responsibilities under which reporting to an appropriate authority outside the entity may be appropriate in the circumstances.

Going concern

53

A review of financial statements includes consideration of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. In considering management’s assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, the assurance practitioner shall cover the same period as that used by management to make its assessment as required by the applicable financial reporting framework, or by law or regulation where a longer period is specified.

Aus 53.1

In evaluating management’s assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, the assurance practitioner shall consider the relevant period, which may be the same or may differ from that used by management to make its assessment as required by the applicable financial reporting framework.  If management’s assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern covers less than the relevant period, the assurance practitioner shall request management to correspond to the relevant period used by the assurance practitioner.

Aus 53.2

Relevant period means the period of approximately 12 months from the date of the assurance practitioner’s current report, and if applicable, to the expected date of the assurance practitioner’s report for:

  1. the next annual reporting period in the case of annual financial statements; or
  2. the corresponding reporting period for the following year in the case of an interim reporting period.

54

If, during the performance of the review, the assurance practitioner becomes aware of events or conditions that may cast significant doubt about the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, the assurance practitioner shall: (Ref: Para. A99)

  1. Enquire of management about plans for future actions affecting the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern and about the feasibility of those plans, and also whether management believes the outcome of those plans will improve the situation regarding the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern;
  2. Evaluate the results of those enquiries, to consider whether management’s responses provide a sufficient basis to:
    1. Continue to present the financial statements on the going concern basis if the applicable financial reporting framework includes the assumption of an entity’s continuance as a going concern; or
    2. Conclude whether the financial statements are materially misstated, or are otherwise misleading regarding the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern; and
  3. Consider management’s responses in light of all relevant information of which the assurance practitioner is aware as a result of the review.

Use of work performed by others

Reconciling the Financial Statements to the Underlying Accounting Records

56

The assurance practitioner shall obtain evidence that the financial statements agree with, or reconcile to, the entity’s underlying accounting records. (Ref: Para. A100)

Additional Procedures When the Assurance Practitioner Becomes Aware that the Financial Statements May Be Materially Misstated

57

If the assurance practitioner becomes aware of a matter(s) that causes the assurance practitioner to believe the financial statements may be materially misstated, the assurance practitioner shall design and perform additional procedures sufficient to enable the assurance practitioner to: (Ref: Para. A101–A105)

  1. Conclude that the matter(s) is not likely to cause the financial statements as a whole to be materially misstated; or
  2. Determine that the matter(s) causes the financial statements as a whole to be materially misstated.

Subsequent Events

58

If the assurance practitioner becomes aware of events occurring between the date of the financial statements and the date of the assurance practitioner’s report that require adjustment of, or disclosure in, the financial statements, the assurance practitioner shall request management to correct those misstatements.

59

The assurance practitioner has no obligation to perform any procedures regarding the financial statements after the date of the assurance practitioner’s report. However, if, after the date of the assurance practitioner’s report but before the date the financial statements are issued, a fact becomes known to the assurance practitioner that, had it been known to the assurance practitioner at the date of the assurance practitioner’s report, may have caused the assurance practitioner to amend the report, the assurance practitioner shall:

  1. Discuss the matter with management or those charged with governance, as appropriate;
  2. Determine whether the financial statements need amendment; and
  3. If so, enquire how management intends to address the matter in the financial statements.

60

If management does not amend the financial statements in circumstances where the assurance practitioner believes they need to be amended, and the assurance practitioner’s report has already been provided to the entity, the assurance practitioner shall notify management and those charged with governance not to issue the financial statements to third parties before the necessary amendments have been made.  If the financial statements are nevertheless subsequently issued without the necessary amendments, the assurance practitioner shall take appropriate action to seek to prevent reliance on the assurance practitioner’s report.

Written Representations

61

The assurance practitioner shall request management to provide a written representation that management has fulfilled its responsibilities described in the agreed terms of engagement. The written representation shall include that: (Ref: Para. A106–A108)

  1. Management has fulfilled its responsibility for the preparation of financial statements in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework, including where relevant their fair presentation, and has provided the assurance practitioner with all relevant information and access to information as agreed in the terms of the engagement; and
  2. All transactions have been recorded and are reflected in the financial statements.

If law or regulation requires management to make written public statements about its responsibilities, and the assurance practitioner determines that such statements provide some or all of the representations required by subparagraphs (a)–(b), the relevant matters covered by such statements need not be included in the written representation.

62

The assurance practitioner shall also request management’s written representations that management has disclosed to the assurance practitioner: (Ref: Para. A107)

  1. The identity of the entity’s related parties and all the related party relationships and transactions of which management is aware;
  2. Significant facts relating to any frauds or suspected frauds known to management that may have affected the entity;
  3. Known actual or possible non-compliance with laws and regulations for which the effects of non-compliance affect the entity’s financial statements;
  4. All information relevant to use of the going concern assumption in the financial statements;
  5. That all events occurring subsequent to the date of the financial statements and for which the applicable financial reporting framework requires adjustment or disclosure, have been adjusted or disclosed;
  6. Material commitments, contractual obligations or contingencies that have affected or may affect the entity’s financial statements, including disclosures; and
  7. Material non-monetary transactions or transactions for no consideration undertaken by the entity in the financial reporting period under consideration.

63

If management does not provide one or more of the requested written representations, the assurance practitioner shall: (Ref: Para. A106)

  1. Discuss the matter with management and those charged with governance, as appropriate;
  2. Re-evaluate the integrity of management, and evaluate the effect that this may have on the reliability of representations (oral or written) and evidence in general; and
  3. Take appropriate actions, including determining the possible effect on the conclusion in the assurance practitioner’s report in accordance with this ASRE.

64

The assurance practitioner shall disclaim a conclusion on the financial statements, or withdraw from the engagement if withdrawal is possible under applicable law or regulation, as appropriate, if:

  1. The assurance practitioner concludes that there is sufficient doubt about the integrity of management such that the written representations are not reliable; or
  2. Management does not provide the required representations required by paragraph 61.

Date of and Period(s) Covered by Written Representations

65

The date of the written representations shall be as near as practicable to, but not after, the date of the assurance practitioner’s report.  The written representations shall be for all financial statements and period(s) referred to in the assurance practitioner’s report.

67

If the assurance practitioner is not able to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence to form a conclusion, the assurance practitioner shall discuss with management and those charged with governance, as appropriate, the effects such limitations have on the scope of the review. (Ref: Para. A110A111)

Evaluating the Effect on the Assurance Practitioner’s Report

Forming the Assurance Practitioner’s Conclusion on the Financial Statements

Consideration of the Applicable Financial Reporting Framework in Relation to the Financial Statements

69

In forming the conclusion on the financial statements, the assurance practitioner shall:

  1. Evaluate whether the financial statements adequately refer to, or describe, the applicable financial reporting framework; (Ref: Para. A112–A113)
  2. Consider whether, in the context of the requirements of the applicable financial reporting framework and the results of procedures performed:
    1. The terminology used in the financial statements, including the title of each financial statement, is appropriate;
    2. The financial statements adequately disclose the significant accounting policies selected and applied;
    3. The accounting policies selected and applied are consistent with the applicable financial reporting framework and are appropriate;
    4. Accounting estimates made by management appear reasonable;
    5. The information presented in the financial statements appears relevant, reliable, comparable, and understandable; and
    6. The financial statements provide adequate disclosures to enable the intended users to understand the effects of material transactions and events on the information conveyed in the financial statements. (Ref: Para. A114–A116)

70

The assurance practitioner shall consider the impact of:

  1. Uncorrected misstatements identified during the review, and in the previous year’s review of the entity’s financial statements, on the financial statements as a whole; and
  2. Qualitative aspects of the entity’s accounting practices, including indicators of possible bias in management’s judgements. (Ref: Para. A117–A118)

71

If the financial statements are prepared using a fair presentation framework, the assurance practitioner’s consideration shall also include: (Ref: Para. A115)

  1. The overall presentation, structure and content of the financial statements in accordance with the applicable framework; and
  2. Whether the financial statements, including the related notes, appear to represent the underlying transactions and events in a manner that achieves fair presentation or gives a true and fair view, as appropriate, in the context of the financial statements as a whole.

Form of the Conclusion

72

The assurance practitioner’s conclusion on the financial statements, whether unmodified or modified, shall be expressed in the appropriate form in the context of the financial reporting framework applied in the financial statements.

Unmodified Conclusion

73

The assurance practitioner shall express an unmodified conclusion in the assurance practitioner’s report on the financial statements as a whole when the assurance practitioner has obtained limited assurance to be able to conclude that nothing has come to the assurance practitioner’s attention that causes the assurance practitioner to believe that the financial statements are not prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework.

74

When the assurance practitioner expresses an unmodified conclusion, the assurance practitioner shall, unless otherwise required by law or regulation, use one of the following phrases, as appropriate: (Ref: Para. A119–A120)

  1. “Based on our review, nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that the financial statements do not present fairly, in all material respects (or do not give a true and fair view), … in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework,” (for financial statements prepared using a fair presentation framework); or
  2. “Based on our review, nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that the financial statements are not prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework,” (for financial statements prepared using a compliance framework).

Modified Conclusion

75

The assurance practitioner shall express a modified conclusion in the assurance practitioner’s report on the financial statements as a whole when:

  1. The assurance practitioner determines, based on the procedures performed and the evidence obtained, that the financial statements are materially misstated; or
  2. The assurance practitioner is unable to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence in relation to one or more items in the financial statements that are material in relation to the financial statements as a whole.

76

When the assurance practitioner modifies the conclusion expressed on the financial statements, the assurance practitioner shall:

  1. Use the heading “Qualified Conclusion,” “Adverse Conclusion” or “Disclaimer of Conclusion,” as appropriate, for the conclusion paragraph in the assurance practitioner’s report; and
  2. Provide a description of the matter giving rise to the modification, under an appropriate heading (for example, “Basis for Qualified Conclusion,” “Basis for Adverse Conclusion” or “Basis for Disclaimer of Conclusion,” as appropriate), in a separate paragraph in the assurance practitioner’s report immediately before the conclusion paragraph (referred to as the basis for conclusion paragraph).

Financial statements are materially misstated

77

If the assurance practitioner determines that the financial statements are materially misstated, the assurance practitioner shall express:

  1. A qualified conclusion, when the assurance practitioner concludes that the effects of the matter(s) giving rise to the modification are material, but not pervasive to the financial statements; or
  2. An adverse conclusion, when the effects of the matter(s) giving rise to the modification are both material and pervasive to the financial statements.

78

When the assurance practitioner expresses a qualified conclusion on the financial statements because of a material misstatement, the assurance practitioner shall, unless otherwise required by law or regulation, use one of the following phrases, as appropriate:

  1. “Based on our review, except for the effects of the matter(s) described in the Basis for Qualified Conclusion paragraph, nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that the financial statements do not present fairly, in all material respects (or do not give a true and fair view), … in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework,” (for financial statements prepared using a fair presentation framework); or
  2. “Based on our review, except for the effects of the matter(s) described in the Basis for Qualified Conclusion paragraph, nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that the financial statements are not prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework,” (for financial statements prepared using a compliance framework).

79

When the assurance practitioner expresses an adverse conclusion on the financial statements, the assurance practitioner shall, unless otherwise required by law or regulation, use one of the following phrases, as appropriate:

  1. “Based on our review, due to the significance of the matter(s) described in the Basis for Adverse Conclusion paragraph, the financial statements do not present fairly, in all material respects (or do not give a true and fair view), … in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework,” (for financial statements prepared using a fair presentation framework); or
  2. “Based on our review, due to the significance of the matter(s) described in the Basis for Adverse Conclusion paragraph, the financial statements are not prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework,” (for financial statements prepared using a compliance framework).

80

In the basis for conclusion paragraph, in relation to material misstatements that give rise to either a qualified conclusion or an adverse conclusion, the assurance practitioner shall:

  1. Describe and quantify the financial effects of the misstatement if the material misstatement relates to specific amounts in the financial statements (including quantitative disclosures), unless impracticable, in which case the assurance practitioner shall so state;
  2. Explain how disclosures are misstated if the material misstatement relates to narrative disclosures; or
  3. Describe the nature of omitted information if the material misstatement relates to the non-disclosure of information required to be disclosed. Unless prohibited by law or regulation, the assurance practitioner shall include the omitted disclosures where practicable to do so.

Inability to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence

81

If the assurance practitioner is unable to form a conclusion on the financial statements due to inability to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence, the assurance practitioner shall:

  1. Express a qualified conclusion if the assurance practitioner concludes that the possible effects on the financial statements of undetected misstatements, if any, could be material but not pervasive; or
  2. Disclaim a conclusion if the assurance practitioner concludes that the possible effects on the financial statements of undetected misstatements, if any, could be both material and pervasive.

82

The assurance practitioner shall withdraw from the engagement if the following conditions are present: (Ref: Para. A121–A123)

  1. Due to a limitation on the scope of the review imposed by management after the assurance practitioner has accepted the engagement, the assurance practitioner is unable to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence to form a conclusion on the financial statements;
  2. The assurance practitioner has determined that the possible effects on the financial statements of undetected misstatements are material and pervasive; and
  3. Withdrawal is possible under applicable law or regulation.

83

When the assurance practitioner expresses a qualified conclusion on the financial statements due to inability to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence, the assurance practitioner shall, unless otherwise required by law or regulation, use one of the following phrases, as appropriate:

  1. “Based on our review, except for the possible effects of the matter(s) described in the Basis for Qualified Conclusion paragraph, nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that the financial statements do not present fairly, in all material respects (or do not give a true and fair view), … in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework,” (for financial statements prepared using a fair presentation framework); or
  2. “Based on our review, except for the possible effects of the matter(s) described in the Basis for Qualified Conclusion paragraph, nothing has come to our attention that causes us to believe that the financial statements are not prepared, in all material respects, in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework,” (for financial statements prepared using a compliance framework).

84

When disclaiming a conclusion on the financial statements the assurance practitioner shall state in the conclusion paragraph that:

  1. Due to the significance of the matter(s) described in the Basis for Disclaimer of Conclusion paragraph, the assurance practitioner is unable to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence to form a conclusion on the financial statements; and
  2. Accordingly, the assurance practitioner does not express a conclusion on the financial statements.

The Assurance Practitioner’s Report

86

The assurance practitioner’s report for the review engagement shall be in writing, and shall contain the following elements: (Ref: Para. A124–A127, A148, A150)

  1. A title, which shall clearly indicate that it is the report of an independent assurance practitioner for a review engagement;
  2. The addressee(s), as required by the circumstances of the engagement;
  3. An introductory paragraph that:
    1. Identifies the financial statements reviewed, including identification of the title of each of the statements contained in the set of financial statements and the date and period covered by each financial statement;
    2. Refers to the summary of significant accounting policies and other explanatory information; and
    3. States that the financial statements have been reviewed;
  4. A description of the responsibility of management for the preparation of the financial statements, including an explanation that management is responsible for: (Ref: Para. A128–A131)
    1. Their preparation in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework including, where relevant, their fair presentation;
    2. Such internal control as management determines is necessary to enable the preparation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error;
  5. If the financial statements are special purpose financial statements:
    1. A description of the purpose for which the financial statements are prepared and, if necessary, the intended users, or reference to a note in the special purpose financial statements that contains that information; and
    2. If management has a choice of financial reporting frameworks in the preparation of such financial statements, a reference within the explanation of management’s responsibility for the financial statements to management’s responsibility for determining that the applicable financial reporting framework is acceptable in the circumstances;
  6. A description of the assurance practitioner’s responsibility to express a conclusion on the financial statements including reference to this ASRE and, where relevant, applicable law or regulation; (Ref: Para. A132–A133, A149)
  7. A description of a review of financial statements and its limitations, and the following statements: (Ref: Para. A134)
    1. A review engagement under this ASRE is a limited assurance engagement;
    2. The assurance practitioner performs procedures, primarily consisting of making enquiries of management and others within the entity, as appropriate, and applying analytical procedures, and evaluates the evidence obtained; and
    3. The procedures performed in a review are substantially less than those performed in an audit conducted in accordance with Australian Auditing Standards, and, accordingly, the assurance practitioner does not express an audit opinion on the financial statements;
  8. A paragraph under the heading “Conclusion” that contains:
    1. The assurance practitioner’s conclusion on the financial statements as a whole in accordance with paragraphs 72–85, as appropriate; and
    2. A reference to the applicable financial reporting framework used to prepare the financial statements, including, if applicable, identification of the jurisdiction of origin of the financial reporting framework-; (Ref: Para. A135–A136)
  9. When the assurance practitioner’s conclusion on the financial statements is modified:
    1. A paragraph under the appropriate heading that contains the assurance practitioner’s modified conclusion in accordance with paragraphs 72 and 75–85, as appropriate; and
    2. A paragraph, under an appropriate heading, that provides a description of the matter(s) giving rise to the modification; (Ref: Para. A137)
  10. A reference to the assurance practitioner’s obligation under this ASRE to comply with relevant ethical requirements;
  11. The date of the assurance practitioner’s report; (Ref: Para. A144–A147)
  12. The assurance practitioner’s signature; and (Ref: Para. A138)
  13. The location in the jurisdiction where the assurance practitioner practices.

Emphasis of Matter and Other Matter Paragraphs in the Assurance Practitioner’s Report

Emphasis of Matter Paragraphs

87

The assurance practitioner may consider it necessary to draw users’ attention to a matter presented or disclosed in the financial statements that, in the assurance practitioner’s judgement, is of such importance that it is fundamental to users’ understanding of the financial statements.  In such cases, the assurance practitioner shall include an Emphasis of Matter paragraph in the assurance practitioner’s report, provided the assurance practitioner has obtained sufficient appropriate evidence to conclude that the matter is not likely to be materially misstated as presented in the financial statements.  Such paragraph shall refer only to information presented or disclosed in the financial statements.

Aus 87.1

If adequate disclosure is made in the financial report, the assurance practitioner shall add an Emphasis of Matter paragraph to the assurance practitioner’s report, to highlight a material uncertainty, including one or more material uncertainties relating to an event(s) or condition(s) that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.

89

The assurance practitioner shall include an Emphasis of Matter paragraph immediately after the paragraph that contains the assurance practitioner’s conclusion on the financial statements under the heading “Emphasis of Matter,” or other appropriate heading.

Other Matter Paragraphs

90

If the assurance practitioner considers it necessary to communicate a matter other than those that are presented or disclosed in the financial statements that, in the assurance practitioner’s judgement, is relevant to users’ understanding of the review, the assurance practitioner’s responsibilities or the assurance practitioner’s report and this is not prohibited by law or regulation, the assurance practitioner shall do so in a paragraph in the assurance practitioner’s report with the heading “Other Matter” or other appropriate heading.

Other Reporting Responsibilities

Date of the Assurance Practitioner’s Report

92

The assurance practitioner shall date the report no earlier than the date on which the assurance practitioner has obtained sufficient appropriate evidence as the basis for the assurance practitioner’s conclusion on the financial statements, including being satisfied that: (Ref: Para. A144–A147)

  1. All the statements that comprise the financial statements under the applicable financial reporting framework, including the related notes where applicable, have been prepared; and
  2. Those with the recognised authority have asserted that they have taken responsibility for those financial statements.

Aus 92.1

The assurance practitioner’s report shall be dated as at the date the assurance practitioner signs that report.

Documentation

93

The preparation of documentation for the review provides evidence that the review was performed in accordance with this ASRE, and legal and regulatory requirements where relevant, and a sufficient and appropriate record of the basis for the assurance practitioner’s report. The assurance practitioner shall document the following aspects of the engagement in a timely manner, sufficient to enable an experienced assurance practitioner, having no previous connection with the engagement, to understand: (Ref: Para. A151)

  1. The nature, timing, and extent of the procedures performed to comply with this ASRE and applicable legal and regulatory requirements;
  2. Results obtained from the procedures, and the assurance practitioner’s conclusions formed on the basis of those results; and
  3. Significant matters arising during the engagement, the assurance practitioner’s conclusions reached thereon, and significant professional judgements made in reaching those conclusions.

94

In documenting the nature, timing and extent of procedures performed as required in this ASRE, the assurance practitioner shall record:

  1. Who performed the work and the date such work was completed; and
  2. Who reviewed the work performed for the purpose of quality control for the engagement, and the date and extent of the review.

95

The assurance practitioner shall also document discussions with management, those charged with governance, and others as relevant to the performance of the review of significant matters arising during the engagement, including the nature of those matters.

96

If, in the course of the engagement, the assurance practitioner identifies information that is inconsistent with the assurance practitioner’s findings regarding significant matters affecting the financial statements, the assurance practitioner shall document how the inconsistency was addressed.

*_2

See ASA 102.

Application and Other Explanatory Material

Includes: Scope of this ASRE, The Engagement to Review Historical Financial Statements, Objectives, Definitions, Conduct of a Review Engagement in Accordance with this ASRE, Ethical Requirements, Professional Scepticism and Professional Judgement , Engagement Level Quality Control , Acceptance and Continuance of Client Relationships and Review Engagements, Communication with Management and Those Charged with Governance , Performing the Engagement , Written Representations, Evaluating Evidence Obtained from the Procedures Performed, Forming the Assurance practitioner’s Conclusion on the Financial Statements , The Assurance Practitioner’s Report, Documentation , Illustrative Engagement Letter for an Engagement to Review Historical Financial Statements, Illustrative Representation Letter for a Review Engagement, Illustrative Assurance practitioners’ Review Reports

Scope of this ASRE

(Ref: Para. 1–2

Reviews of Financial Information of Components in the Context of an Audit of the Financial Statements of a Group of Entities

A2

Review engagements in accordance with this ASRE may be requested for component entities by the auditor of the financial statements of a group of entities.[6]  Such a review engagement performed in accordance with this ASRE may be accompanied by a request from the group auditor to undertake additional work or procedures as needed in the circumstances of the group audit engagement.

Relationship with ASQC 1 (Ref: Para. 4)

A3

ASQC 1 deals with the firm’s responsibilities to establish and maintain its system of quality control for assurance engagements, including review engagements. Those responsibilities are directed at establishing the firm’s:

  • Quality control system; and
  • Related policies designed to achieve the objective of the quality control system and the firm’s procedures to implement and monitor compliance with those policies, including policies and procedures that address each of the following elements:
    • Leadership responsibilities for quality within the firm.
    • Relevant ethical requirements.
    • Acceptance and continuance of client relationships and specific engagements.
    • Human resources.
    • Engagement performance.
    • Monitoring.

A4

Under ASQC 1, the firm has an obligation to establish and maintain a system of quality control to provide it with reasonable assurance that:

  1. The firm and its personnel comply with professional standards and applicable legal and regulatory requirements; and
  2. Reports issued by the firm or engagement partners are appropriate in the circumstances.[7]

A5

[Deleted by the AUASB.  Refer Aus A5.1]

Aus A5.1

ASQC 1 contains requirements which are at least as demanding as its international equivalent, ISQC 1 Quality Control for Firms that Perform Audits and Reviews of Financial Statements, and Other Assurance and Related Services Engagements,[*]as it addresses all the elements referred to in ISQC 1 and imposes obligations on the firm that achieves the aims of the requirements set out in ISQC 1.

The Engagement to Review Historical Financial Statements

(Ref: Para. 5–8, 14)

Objectives

(Ref: Para. 15

A8

This ASRE requires the assurance practitioner to disclaim a conclusion on the financial statements if:

  1. The assurance practitioner issues a report, or is required to issue a report for the engagement; and
  2. The assurance practitioner is unable to form a conclusion on the financial statements due to inability to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence, and the assurance practitioner concludes that the possible effects on the financial statements of undetected misstatements, if any, could be both material and pervasive.

A9

The situation of being unable to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence in a review engagement (referred to as a scope limitation) may arise from:

  1. Circumstances beyond the control of the entity;
  2. Circumstances relating to the nature or timing of the assurance practitioner’s work; or
  3. Limitations imposed by management or those charged with governance of the entity.

A10

This ASRE sets out requirements and guidance for the assurance practitioner when the assurance practitioner encounters a scope limitation, either prior to accepting a review engagement, or during the engagement.

Definitions

(Ref: Para. 16

Use of the Terms “Management” and “Those Charged with Governance”

A12

Various responsibilities relating to preparation of financial information and external financial reporting will fall to either management or those charged with governance according to factors such as:

  • The resources and structure of the entity; and
  • The respective roles of management and those charged with governance within the entity as set out in relevant law or regulation or, if the entity is not regulated, in any formal governance or accountability arrangements established for the entity (for example, as recorded in contracts, a constitution or other type of establishment documents of the entity).

For example, in small entities there is often no separation of the management and governance roles. In larger entities, management is often responsible for execution of the business or activities of the entity and reporting thereon, while those charged with governance oversee management. In some jurisdictions, the responsibility for preparation of financial statements for an entity is the legal responsibility of those charged with governance, and in some other jurisdictions it is a management responsibility.

Limited Assurance – Use of the Term Sufficient Appropriate Evidence (Ref: Para. 17(f))

Conduct of a Review Engagement in Accordance with this ASRE

(Ref: Para. 18

Ethical Requirements

(Ref: Para. 21)

A15

[Deleted by the AUASB. Refer Aus A15.1]

Aus A15.1

The fundamental principles of professional ethics referred to in ASA 102 are:

  1. Integrity;
  2. Objectivity;
  3. Professional competence and due care;
  4. Confidentiality; and
  5. Professional behaviour.

In complying with ASA 102, threats to the assurance practitioner’s compliance with relevant ethical requirements are required to be identified and appropriately addressed.

Professional Scepticism and Professional Judgement

Professional Scepticism (Ref: Para. 22)

A18

Professional scepticism includes being alert to, for example:

  • Evidence that is inconsistent with other evidence obtained.
  • Information that calls into question the reliability of documents and responses to enquiries to be used as evidence.
  • Conditions that may indicate possible fraud.
  • Any other circumstances that suggest the need for additional procedures.

A19

Maintaining professional scepticism throughout the review is necessary if the assurance practitioner is to reduce the risks of:

  • Overlooking unusual circumstances.
  • Over-generalising when drawing conclusions from evidence obtained.
  • Using inappropriate assumptions in determining the nature, timing, and extent of the procedures performed in the review, and evaluating the results thereof.

Professional Judgement (Ref: Para. 23)

A21

Professional judgement is essential to the proper conduct of a review engagement. This is because interpretation of relevant ethical requirements and the requirements of this ASRE, and the need for informed decisions throughout the performance of a review engagement, require the application of relevant knowledge and experience to the facts and circumstances of the engagement. Professional judgement is necessary, in particular:

  • Regarding decisions about materiality, and the nature, timing, and extent of procedures used to meet the requirements of this ASRE, and to gather evidence.
  • When evaluating whether the evidence obtained from the procedures performed reduces the engagement risk to a level that is acceptable in the engagement circumstances.
  • When considering management’s judgements in applying the entity’s applicable financial reporting framework.
  • When forming the conclusion on the financial statements based on the evidence obtained, including considering the reasonableness of the estimates made by management in preparing the financial statements.

A22

The distinguishing feature of the professional judgement expected of the assurance practitioner is that it is exercised by an assurance practitioner whose training, knowledge and experience, including in the use of assurance skills and techniques, have assisted in developing the necessary competencies to achieve reasonable judgements.  Consultation on difficult or contentious matters during the course of the engagement, both within the engagement team and between the engagement team and others at the appropriate level within or outside the firm, assists the assurance practitioner in making informed and reasonable judgements.

A23

The exercise of professional judgement in individual engagements is based on the facts and circumstances that are known by the assurance practitioner throughout the engagement, including:

  • Knowledge acquired from engagements carried out with respect to the entity’s financial statements in prior periods, where applicable.
  • The assurance practitioner’s understanding of the entity and its environment, including its accounting system, and of the application of the applicable financial reporting framework in the entity’s industry.
  • The extent to which the preparation and presentation of the financial statements require the exercise of management judgement.

A24

Professional judgement can be evaluated based on whether the judgement reached reflects a competent application of assurance and accounting principles, and is appropriate in the light of, and consistent with, the facts and circumstances that were known to the assurance practitioner up to the date of the assurance practitioner’s report.

Engagement Level Quality Control

(Ref: Para. 24–25)

A26

Assurance skills and techniques include:

  • Applying professional scepticism and professional judgement to planning and performing an assurance engagement, including obtaining and evaluating evidence;
  • Understanding information systems and the role and limitations of internal control;
  • Linking the consideration of materiality and engagement risks to the nature, timing and extent of procedures for the review;
  • Applying procedures as appropriate to the review engagement, which may include other types of procedures in addition to enquiry and analytical procedures (such as inspection, re-calculation, re-performance, observation and confirmation);
  • Systematic documentation practices; and
  • Application of skills and practices relevant for writing reports for assurance engagements.

A28

The actions of the engagement partner and appropriate messages to the other members of the engagement team, in the context of the engagement partner taking responsibility for the overall quality on each review engagement, emphasize the fact that quality is essential in performing a review engagement, and the importance to the quality of the review engagement of:

  1. Performing work that complies with professional standards and regulatory and legal requirements.
  2. Complying with the firm’s quality control policies and procedures as applicable.
  3. Issuing a report for the engagement that is appropriate in the circumstances.
  4. The engagement team’s ability to raise concerns without fear of reprisals.

A29

Unless information provided by the firm or other parties suggests otherwise, the engagement team is entitled to rely on the firm’s system of quality control. For example, the engagement team may rely on the firm’s system of quality control in relation to:

  • Competence of personnel through their recruitment and formal training.
  • Independence through the accumulation and communication of relevant independence information.
  • Maintenance of client relationships through acceptance and continuance systems.
  • Adherence to regulatory and legal requirements through the monitoring process.

In considering deficiencies identified in the firm’s system of quality control that may affect the review engagement, the engagement partner may consider measures taken by the firm to rectify those deficiencies.

Assignment of Engagement Teams (Ref: Para. 25(b))

A31

When considering the appropriate competence and capabilities expected of the engagement team as a whole, the engagement partner may take into consideration such matters as the team’s:

  • Understanding of, and practical experience with, review engagements of a similar nature and complexity through appropriate training and participation.
  • Understanding of professional standards and applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Technical expertise, including expertise with relevant information technology and specialised areas of accounting or assurance.
  • Knowledge of relevant industries in which the client operates.
  • Ability to apply professional judgement.
  • Understanding of the firm’s quality control policies and procedures.

Acceptance and Continuance of Client Relationships and Review Engagements (Ref: Para. 25(d)(i))

A32

ASQC 1 requires the firm to obtain information as it considers necessary in the circumstances before accepting an engagement with a new client, when deciding whether to continue an existing engagement, and when considering acceptance of a new engagement with an existing client. Information that assists the engagement partner in determining whether acceptance and continuance of client relationships and review engagements are appropriate may include information concerning:

  • The integrity of the principal owners, key management and those charged with governance; and
  • Significant matters that have arisen during the current or a previous review engagement, and their implications for continuing the relationship.

Acceptance and Continuance of Client Relationships and Review Engagements

(Ref: Para. 29)

Factors Affecting Acceptance and Continuance of Client Relationships and Review Engagements (Ref: Para. 29)

A35

Assurance engagements may only be accepted when the engagement exhibits certain characteristics[8] that are conducive to achieving the assurance practitioner’s objectives specified for the engagement.

Rational Purpose (Ref: Para. 29(a)(i))

A36

It may be unlikely that there is a rational purpose for the engagement if, for example:

  1. There is a significant limitation on the scope of the assurance practitioner’s work;
  2. The assurance practitioner suspects the engaging party intends to associate the assurance practitioner’s name with the financial statements in an inappropriate manner; or
  3. The engagement is intended to meet compliance requirements of relevant law or regulation and such law or regulation requires the financial statements to be audited.

Review Engagement Is Appropriate (Ref: Para. 29(a)(ii))

Information Needed to Perform the Review Engagement (Ref: Para. 29(c))

Preconditions for Accepting a Review Engagement (Ref: Para. 30)

The Applicable Financial Reporting Framework (Ref: Para. 30(a))

A40

A condition for acceptance of an assurance engagement is that the criteria[9] referred to in the definition of an assurance engagement are suitable and available to intended users.[10]  For purposes of this ASRE, the applicable financial reporting framework provides the criteria the assurance practitioner uses to review the financial statements including, where relevant, the fair presentation of the financial statements.  Some financial reporting frameworks are fair presentation frameworks, while others are compliance frameworks.  The requirements of the applicable financial reporting framework determine the form and content of the financial statements, including what constitutes a complete set of financial statements.

Acceptability of the applicable financial reporting framework

A41

Without an acceptable financial reporting framework, management does not have an appropriate basis for the preparation of the financial statements and the assurance practitioner does not have suitable criteria for the review of the financial statements.

A42

The assurance practitioner’s determination of the acceptability of the financial reporting framework applied in the financial statements is made in the context of the assurance practitioner’s understanding of who the intended users of the financial statements are.  The intended users are the person, persons or group of persons for whom the assurance practitioner prepares the report.  The assurance practitioner may not be able to identify all those who will read the assurance report, particularly where there is a large number of people who have access to it.

A43

In many cases, in the absence of any indications to the contrary, the assurance practitioner may presume that the applicable financial reporting framework is acceptable (for example, a financial reporting framework that is prescribed by law or regulation in a jurisdiction to be used in the preparation of general purpose financial statements for certain types of entities).

A44

Factors that are relevant to the assurance practitioner’s determination of the acceptability of the financial reporting framework to be applied in the preparation of the financial statements include:

  • The nature of the entity (for example, whether it is a business enterprise, a public sector entity or a not-for-profit organisation).
  • The purpose of the financial statements (for example, whether they are prepared to meet the common financial information needs of a wide range of users or the financial information needs of specific users).
  • The nature of the financial statements (for example, whether the financial statements are a complete set of financial statements or a single financial statement).
  • Whether the applicable financial reporting framework is prescribed in relevant law or regulation.

A45

If the financial reporting framework used to prepare the financial statements is not acceptable in view of the purpose of the financial statements and management will not agree to use of a financial reporting framework that is acceptable in the assurance practitioner’s view, the assurance practitioner is required under this ASRE to decline the engagement.

Responsibilities of Management and Those Charged with Governance (Ref: Para. 30(b), 37(e))

A48

As part of its responsibility for the preparation of the financial statements, management is required to exercise judgement in making accounting estimates that are reasonable in the circumstances, and to select and apply appropriate accounting policies.  These judgements are made in the context of the applicable financial reporting framework.

A49

Because of the significance of the preconditions for undertaking a review of financial statements, the assurance practitioner is required under this ASRE to obtain the agreement of management that it understands its responsibilities before accepting a review engagement.  The assurance practitioner may obtain management’s agreement either orally or in writing.  However, management’s agreement is subsequently recorded within the written terms of the engagement.

Additional Considerations When the Wording of the Assurance Practitioner’s Report Is Prescribed by Law or Regulation (Ref: Para. 3435)

A51

This ASRE requires the assurance practitioner to not represent compliance with this ASRE unless the assurance practitioner has complied with all the requirements of this ASRE that are relevant to the review engagement. Law or regulation may prescribe matters in relation to an engagement that would ordinarily cause the assurance practitioner to decline the engagement were it possible to do so, for example, if:

  • The assurance practitioner considers that the financial reporting framework prescribed by law or regulation is not acceptable; or
  • The prescribed layout or wording of the assurance practitioner’s report is in a form or in terms that are significantly different from the layout or wording required by this ASRE.

Under this ASRE, a review conducted in these situations does not comply with this ASRE and the assurance practitioner cannot represent compliance with this ASRE in the report issued for the engagement. Notwithstanding that the assurance practitioner is not permitted to represent compliance with this ASRE, the assurance practitioner is, however, encouraged to apply this ASRE, including the reporting requirements, to the extent practicable. When appropriate to avoid misunderstanding, the assurance practitioner may consider including a statement in the report that the review is not conducted in accordance with this ASRE.

Agreeing the Terms of Engagement

Engagement Letter or Other Form of Written Agreement (Ref: Para. 37)

Form and content of the engagement letter

A53

The form and content of the engagement letter may vary for each engagement. In addition to including the matters required by this ASRE, an engagement letter may make reference to, for example:

  • Arrangements concerning the involvement of other assurance practitioners and experts in the review engagement.
  • Arrangements to be made with the predecessor assurance practitioner, if any, in the case of an initial engagement.
  • The fact that a review engagement will not satisfy any statutory or third party requirements for an audit.
  • The expectation that management will provide written representations to the assurance practitioner.
  • The agreement of management to inform the assurance practitioner of facts that may affect the financial statements of which management may become aware during the period from the date of the assurance practitioner’s report to the date the financial statements are issued.
  • A request for management to acknowledge receipt of the engagement letter and to agree to the terms of the engagement outlined therein.

Review of components of groups of entities

Responsibilities of management prescribed by law or regulation (Ref: Para. 37(e))

Illustrative Engagement Letter (Ref: Para. 37)

A56

An illustrative engagement letter for a review engagement is set out in Appendix 1 to this ASRE.

Recurring Engagements (Ref: Para. 38)

A57

The assurance practitioner may decide not to send a new engagement letter or other written agreement each period. However, the following factors may indicate that it is appropriate to revise the terms of the review engagement or to remind management and those charged with governance, as appropriate, of the existing terms of the engagement:

  • Any indication that management misunderstands the objective and scope of the review.
  • Any revised or special terms of the engagement.
  • A recent change of senior management of the entity.
  • A significant change in ownership of the entity.
  • A significant change in nature or size of the entity’s business.
  • A change in legal or regulatory requirements affecting the entity.
  • A change in the applicable financial reporting framework.

Acceptance of a Change in the Terms of the Review Engagement

Request to Change the Terms of the Review Engagement (Ref: Para. 39)

A58

A request from the entity for the assurance practitioner to change the terms of the review engagement may result from factors including:

  • A change in circumstances affecting the need for the service.
  • Misunderstanding as to the nature of a review engagement as originally requested.
  • A restriction on the scope of the review engagement, whether imposed by management or caused by other circumstances.

A59

A change in circumstances that affects the entity’s requirements or a misunderstanding concerning the nature of the service originally requested may be considered a reasonable basis for requesting a change to the terms of the review engagement.

Request to Change the Nature of the Engagement (Ref: Para. 40)

A62

If the assurance practitioner concludes that there is reasonable justification to change the review engagement to another type of engagement or related service, the work performed in the review engagement to the date of change may be relevant to the changed engagement; however, the work required to be performed and the report to be issued would be those appropriate to the revised engagement. In order to avoid confusing the reader, the report on the other engagement or related service would not include reference to:

  1. The original review engagement; or
  2. Any procedures that may have been performed in the original review engagement, except where the review engagement is changed to an engagement to perform agreed-upon procedures and thus reference to the procedures performed is a normal part of the report.

Communication with Management and Those Charged with Governance

(Ref: Para. 42)

A63

In a review engagement, the assurance practitioner’s communications with management and those charged with governance take the form of:

  1. Enquiries the assurance practitioner makes in the course of performing the procedures for the review; and
  2. Other communications, in the context of having effective two-way communication to understand matters arising and to develop a constructive working relationship for the engagement.

A64

The appropriate timing for communications will vary with the circumstances of the engagement.  Relevant factors include the significance and nature of the matter, and any action expected to be taken by management or those charged with governance.  For example, it may be appropriate to communicate a significant difficulty encountered during the review as soon as practicable if management or those charged with governance are able to assist the assurance practitioner to overcome the difficulty.

A65

Law or regulation may restrict the assurance practitioner’s communication of certain matters with those charged with governance.  For example, law or regulation may specifically prohibit a communication, or other action, that might prejudice an investigation by an appropriate authority into an actual, or suspected, illegal act.  In some circumstances, potential conflicts between the assurance practitioner’s obligations of confidentiality and obligations to communicate may be complex. In such cases, the assurance practitioner may consider obtaining legal advice.

Communicating Matters Concerning the Review

A66

Matters to be communicated to management or those charged with governance, as appropriate, under this ASRE may include:

  • The assurance practitioner’s responsibilities in the review engagement, as included in the engagement letter or other suitable form of written agreement.
  • Significant findings from the review, for example:
    • The assurance practitioner’s views about significant qualitative aspects of the entity’s accounting practices, including accounting policies, accounting estimates and financial statement disclosures.
    • Significant findings from the performance of procedures, including situations where the assurance practitioner considered performance of additional procedures necessary under this ASRE. The assurance practitioner may need to confirm that those charged with governance have the same understanding of the facts and circumstances relevant to specific transactions or events.
    • Matters arising that may lead to modification of the assurance practitioner’s conclusion.
    • Significant difficulties, if any, encountered during the review; for example, unavailability of expected information; unexpected inability to obtain evidence that the assurance practitioner considers necessary for the review; or restrictions imposed on the assurance practitioner by management. In some circumstances, such difficulties may constitute a scope limitation that, if not addressed by management or those charged with governance, may lead to modification of the assurance practitioner’s conclusion or to the assurance practitioner’s withdrawal from the engagement in certain circumstances.

A67

In some entities, different persons are responsible for the management and the governance of an entity. In these circumstances, management may have the responsibility to communicate matters of governance interest to those charged with governance.  Communication by management with those charged with governance of matters that the assurance practitioner is required to communicate does not relieve the assurance practitioner of the responsibility to also communicate them to those charged with governance.  However, communication of these matters by management may affect the form or timing of the assurance practitioner’s communication with those charged with governance.

Communication with Third Parties

A68

In some circumstances, the assurance practitioner may be required by law or regulation to, for example:

  • Notify a regulatory or enforcement body of certain matters communicated with those charged with governance. For example, in some circumstances the assurance practitioner has a duty to report misstatements to authorities where management and those charged with governance fail to take corrective action.
  • Submit copies of certain reports prepared for those charged with governance to relevant regulatory or funding bodies or, in some cases, make such reports publicly available.

Performing the Engagement

Materiality in a Review of Financial Statements (Ref: Para. 43)

A70

The assurance practitioner’s consideration of materiality is made in the context of the applicable financial reporting framework. Some financial reporting frameworks discuss the concept of materiality in the context of the preparation and presentation of financial statements. Although financial reporting frameworks may discuss materiality in different terms, they generally explain that:

  • Misstatements, including omissions, are considered to be material if they, individually or in the aggregate, could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of the financial statements;
  • Judgements about materiality are made in light of surrounding circumstances, and are affected by the size or nature of a misstatement, or a combination of both; and
  • Judgements about matters that are material to users of the financial statements are based on a consideration of the common financial information needs of users as a group. The possible effect of misstatements on specific individual users, whose needs may vary widely, is not considered.

A71

If present in the applicable financial reporting framework, a discussion of the concept of materiality provides a frame of reference for the assurance practitioner in determining materiality for the review.  If not present, the above considerations provide the assurance practitioner with a frame of reference.

A72

The assurance practitioner’s determination of materiality is a matter of professional judgement, and is affected by the assurance practitioner’s perception of the needs of the intended users of the financial statements. In this context, it is reasonable for the assurance practitioner to assume that users:

  • Have a reasonable knowledge of business and economic activities and accounting, and a willingness to study the information in the financial statements with reasonable diligence;
  • Understand that financial statements are prepared, presented and reviewed to levels of materiality;
  • Recognise the uncertainties inherent in the measurement of amounts based on the use of estimates, judgement and the consideration of future events; and
  • Make reasonable economic decisions on the basis of the information in the financial statements.

 

Further, unless the review engagement is undertaken for financial statements that are intended to meet the particular needs of specific users, the possible effect of misstatements on specific users, whose information needs may vary widely, is not ordinarily considered.

Revising Materiality (Ref: Para. 44)

A74

The assurance practitioner’s determination of materiality for the financial statements as a whole may need to be revised during the engagement as a result of:

  • A change in the circumstances that occurred during the review (for example, a decision to dispose of a major part of the entity’s business).
  • New information, or a change in the assurance practitioner’s understanding of the entity and its environment as a result of performing procedures for the review in accordance with this ASRE (for example, if during the review it appears as though actual financial results are likely to be substantially different from the anticipated period-end financial results that were used initially to determine materiality for the financial statements as a whole).

The Assurance Practitioner’s Understanding (Ref: Para. 4546)

A76

Obtaining an understanding of the entity and its environment is a continual dynamic process of gathering, updating and analysing information throughout the review engagement.  The assurance practitioner’s understanding is obtained and applied on an iterative basis throughout performance of the engagement, and is updated as changes in conditions and circumstances occur. Initial procedures for engagement acceptance and continuance at the time of commencement of a review engagement are based on the assurance practitioner’s preliminary understanding of the entity and of the engagement circumstances.  In a continuing client relationship, the assurance practitioner’s understanding includes knowledge obtained from prior engagements performed by the assurance practitioner in relation to the entity’s financial statements and other financial information.

A78

In obtaining an understanding of the entity and its environment, and of the applicable financial reporting framework, the assurance practitioner may also consider:

  • Whether the entity is a component of a group of entities, or an associated entity of another entity.
  • The complexity of the financial reporting framework.
  • The entity’s financial reporting obligations or requirements, and whether those obligations or requirements exist under applicable law or regulation or in the context of voluntary financial reporting arrangements established under formalised governance or accountability arrangements, for example, under contractual arrangements with third parties.
  • Relevant provisions of laws and regulations that are generally recognised to have a direct effect on the determination of material amounts and disclosures in the financial statements, such as tax and superannuation laws and regulations.
  • The level of development of the entity’s management and governance structure regarding management and oversight of the entity’s accounting records and financial reporting systems that underpin preparation of the financial statements. Smaller entities often have fewer employees, which may influence how management exercises oversight. For example, segregation of duties may not be practicable. However, in a small owner-managed entity, the owner-manager may be able to exercise more effective oversight than in a larger entity. This oversight may compensate for the generally more limited opportunities for segregation of duties.
  • The “tone at the top” and the entity’s control environment through which the entity addresses risks relating to financial reporting and compliance with the entity’s financial reporting obligations.
  • The level of development and complexity of the entity’s financial accounting and reporting systems and related controls through which the entity’s accounting records and related information are maintained.
  • The entity’s procedures for recording, classifying and summarising transactions, accumulating information for inclusion in the financial statements and related disclosures.
  • The types of matters that required accounting adjustments in the entity’s financial statements in prior periods.

Designing and Performing Procedures (Ref: Para. 47, 55)

A79

The planned nature, timing and extent of the procedures the assurance practitioner considers are needed to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence as the basis for a conclusion on the financial statements as a whole are influenced by:

  1. The requirements of this ASRE; and
  2. Requirements established under applicable law or regulation, including additional reporting requirements contained in applicable laws or regulations.

A81

The requirements of this ASRE relating to designing and performing enquiry and analytical procedures, and procedures addressing specific circumstances, are designed to enable the assurance practitioner to achieve the objectives specified in this ASRE.  The circumstances of review engagements vary widely and, accordingly, there may be circumstances where the assurance practitioner may consider it effective or efficient to design and perform other procedures.  For example, if in the course of obtaining an understanding of the entity, the assurance practitioner becomes aware of a significant contract the assurance practitioner may choose to read the contract.

A82

The fact that the assurance practitioner may deem it necessary to perform other procedures does not alter the assurance practitioner’s objective of obtaining limited assurance in relation to the financial statements as a whole.

Significant or Unusual Transactions

Enquiry (Ref: Para. 4648)

A85

Depending on the engagement circumstances, enquiries may also include enquiries about:

  • Actions taken at meetings of owners, those charged with governance and committees thereof, and proceedings at other meetings, if any, that affect the information and disclosures contained in the financial statements.
  • Communications the entity has received, or expects to receive or obtain, from regulatory agencies.
  • Matters arising in the course of applying other procedures. When performing further enquiries in relation to identified inconsistencies, the assurance practitioner considers the reasonableness and consistency of management’s responses in light of the results obtained from other procedures, and the assurance practitioner’s knowledge and understanding of the entity and the industry in which it operates.

A86

Evidence obtained through enquiry is often the principal source of evidence about management intent.  However, information available to support management’s intent may be limited. In that case, understanding management’s past history of carrying out its stated intentions, management’s stated reasons for choosing a particular course of action, and management’s ability to pursue a specific course of action may provide relevant information to corroborate the evidence obtained through enquiry.  Application of professional scepticism in evaluating responses provided by management is important to enable the assurance practitioner to evaluate whether there are any matter(s) that would cause the assurance practitioner to believe the financial statements may be materially misstated.

A88

The assurance practitioner may have additional responsibilities under law, regulation or relevant ethical requirements regarding an entity’s non-compliance with laws and regulations, including fraud, which may differ from or go beyond this ASRE, such as:

  1. Responding to identified or suspected non-compliance with laws and regulations, including requirements in relation to specific communications with management and those charged with governance and considering whether further action is needed;
  2. Communicating identified or suspected non-compliance with laws and regulations to an auditor, for example a group engagement partner;[11] and
  3. Documentation requirements regarding identified or suspected non-compliance with laws and regulations.

Complying with any additional responsibilities may provide further information that is relevant to the assurance practitioner’s work in accordance with this Assurance Standard (e.g., regarding the integrity of management or, where appropriate, those charged with governance).

Enquiry about the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern (Ref: Para. 48(f))

Analytical Procedures (Ref: Para. 4647, 49)

A90

In a review of financial statements, performing analytical procedures assists the assurance practitioner in:

  • Obtaining or updating the assurance practitioner’s understanding of the entity and its environment, including to be able to identify areas where material misstatements are likely to arise in the financial statements.
  • Identifying inconsistencies or variances from expected trends, values or norms in the financial statements such as the level of congruence of the financial statements with key data, including key performance indicators.
  • Providing corroborative evidence in relation to other enquiry or analytical procedures already performed.
  • Serving as additional procedures when the assurance practitioner becomes aware of matter(s) that cause the assurance practitioner to believe that the financial statements may be materially misstated. An example of such an additional procedure is a comparative analysis of monthly revenue and cost figures across profit centres, branches or other components of the entity, to provide evidence about financial information contained in line items or disclosures contained in the financial statements.

A91

Various methods may be used to perform analytical procedures. These methods range from performing simple comparisons to performing complex analysis using statistical techniques. The assurance practitioner may, for example, apply analytical procedures to evaluate the financial information underlying the financial statements through analysis of plausible relationships among both financial and non-financial data, and assessment of results for consistency with expected values with a view to identifying relationships and individual items that appear unusual, or that vary from expected trends or values. The assurance practitioner would compare recorded amounts, or ratios developed from recorded amounts, to expectations developed by the assurance practitioner from information obtained from relevant sources. Examples of sources of information the assurance practitioner often uses to develop expectations, depending on the engagement circumstances, include:

  • Financial information for comparable prior period(s), taking known changes into account.
  • Information about expected operating and financial results, such as budgets or forecasts including extrapolations from interim or annual data.
  • Relationships among elements of financial information within the period.
  • Information regarding the industry in which the entity operates, such as gross margin information, or comparison of the entity’s ratio of sales to accounts receivable with industry averages or with other entities of comparable size in the same industry.
  • Relationships of financial information with relevant non-financial information, such as payroll costs to number of employees.

A92

The assurance practitioner’s consideration of whether data to be used for analytical procedures are satisfactory for the intended purpose(s) of those procedures is based on the assurance practitioner’s understanding of the entity and its environment, and is influenced by the nature and source of the data, and by the circumstances in which the data are obtained. The following considerations may be relevant:

  • Source of the information available. For example, information may be more reliable when it is obtained from independent sources outside the entity;
  • Comparability of the information available. For example, broad industry data may need to be supplemented or be adjusted to be comparable to data of an entity that produces and sells specialised products;
  • Nature and relevance of the information available; for example, whether the entity’s budgets are established as results to be expected rather than as goals to be achieved; and
  • The knowledge and expertise involved in the preparation of the information, and related controls that are designed to ensure its completeness, accuracy and validity. Such controls may include, for example, controls over the preparation, review and maintenance of budgetary information.

Procedures to Address Specific Circumstances

Fraud and non‑compliance with laws and regulations (Ref: Para. 52(a) and (d))

Communication with management and those charged with governance

Reporting of identified or suspected non‑compliance with laws and regulations to an appropriate authority outside the entity

A94

Reporting identified or suspected non-compliance with laws and regulations to an appropriate authority outside the entity may be required or appropriate in the circumstances because:

  1. Law, regulation or relevant ethical requirements require the assurance practitioner to report;
  2. The assurance practitioner has determined reporting is an appropriate action to respond to identified or suspected non-compliance in accordance with relevant ethical requirements (see paragraph A95); or
  3. Law, regulation or relevant ethical requirements provide the assurance practitioner with the right to do so (see paragraph A96)

A97

In other circumstances, the reporting of identified or suspected non‑compliance with laws and regulations to an appropriate authority outside the entity may be precluded by the assurance practitioner’s duty of confidentiality under law, regulation or relevant ethical requirements.

A98

The determination required by paragraph 52(d) may involve complex considerations and professional judgements. Accordingly, the assurance practitioner may consider consulting internally (e.g., within the firm or a network firm) or on a confidential basis with a regulator or a professional body (unless doing so is prohibited by law or regulation or would breach the duty of confidentiality). The assurance practitioner may also consider obtaining legal advice to understand the assurance practitioner’s options and the professional or legal implications of taking any particular course of action.

Events or conditions that may cast doubt regarding use of the going concern assumption in the financial statements (Ref: Para. 54)

A99

The list of factors below gives examples of events or conditions that, individually or collectively, may cast significant doubt about the going concern assumption. The list is not all-inclusive, and the existence of one or more of the items does not always signify that uncertainty exists about whether the entity can continue as a going concern.

Financial

  • Net liability or net current liability position.
  • Fixed-term borrowings approaching maturity without realistic prospects of renewal or repayment, or excessive reliance on short-term borrowings to finance long-term assets.
  • Indications of withdrawal of financial support by creditors.
  • Negative operating cash flows indicated by historical or prospective financial statements.
  • Adverse key financial ratios.
  • Substantial operating losses or significant deterioration in the value of assets used to generate cash flows.
  • Arrears or discontinuance of dividends.
  • Inability to pay creditors on due dates.
  • Inability to comply with the terms of loan agreements.
  • Change from credit to cash-on-delivery transactions with suppliers.
  • Inability to obtain financing for essential new product development or other essential investments.

Operating

  • Management intentions to liquidate the entity or to cease operations.
  • Loss of key management without replacement.
  • Loss of a major market, key customer(s), franchise, license, or principal supplier(s).
  • Labour difficulties.
  • Shortages of important supplies.
  • Emergence of a highly successful competitor.

Other

  • Non-compliance with capital or other statutory requirements.
  • Pending legal or regulatory proceedings against the entity that may, if successful, result in claims that the entity is unlikely to be able to satisfy.
  • Changes in law or regulation or government policy expected to adversely affect the entity.
  • Uninsured or underinsured catastrophes when they occur.

The significance of such events or conditions often can be mitigated by other factors. For example, the effect of an entity being unable to make its normal debt repayments may be counter-balanced by management’s plans to maintain adequate cash flows by alternative means, such as by disposing of assets, rescheduling loan repayments, or obtaining additional capital. Similarly, the loss of a principal supplier may be mitigated by the availability of a suitable alternative source of supply.

Reconciling the Financial Statements to the Underlying Accounting Records (Ref: Para. 56)

Performing Additional Procedures (Ref: Para. 57)

A102

The assurance practitioner’s response in undertaking additional procedures with respect to an item the assurance practitioner has cause to believe may be materially misstated in the financial statements will vary, depending on the circumstances, and is a matter for the assurance practitioner’s professional judgement.

A103

The assurance practitioner’s judgement about the nature, timing and extent of additional procedures that are needed to obtain evidence to either conclude that a material misstatement is not likely, or determine that a material misstatement exists, is guided by:

  • Information obtained from the assurance practitioner’s evaluation of the results of the procedures already performed;
  • The assurance practitioner’s updated understanding of the entity and its environment obtained throughout the course of the engagement; and
  • The assurance practitioner’s view on the persuasiveness of evidence needed to address the matter that causes the assurance practitioner to believe that the financial statements may be materially misstated.

A104

Additional procedures focus on obtaining sufficient appropriate evidence to enable the assurance practitioner to form a conclusion on matters that the assurance practitioner believes may cause the financial statements to be materially misstated. The procedures may be:

  • Additional enquiry or analytical procedures, for example, being performed in greater detail or being focused on the affected items (i.e. amounts or disclosures concerning the affected accounts or transactions as reflected in the financial statements); or
  • Other types of procedures, for example, substantive test of details or external confirmations.

A105

The following example illustrates the assurance practitioner’s evaluation of the need to perform additional procedures, and the assurance practitioner’s response when the assurance practitioner believes additional procedures are necessary.

  • In the course of performing the enquiry and analytical procedures for the review, the assurance practitioner’s analysis of accounts receivable shows a material amount of past due accounts receivable, for which there is no allowance for bad or doubtful debts.
  • This causes the assurance practitioner to believe that the accounts receivable balance in the financial statements may be materially misstated. The assurance practitioner then enquires of management whether there are uncollectible accounts receivable that would need to be shown as being impaired.
  • Depending on management’s response, the assurance practitioner’s evaluation of the response may:
    1. Enable the assurance practitioner to conclude that the accounts receivable balance is not likely to be materially misstated. In that case, no further procedures are required.
    2. Enable the assurance practitioner to determine that the matter causes the financial statements to be materially misstated. No further procedures are required, and the assurance practitioner would form the conclusion that the financial statements as a whole are materially misstated.
    3. Lead the assurance practitioner to continue to believe that the accounts receivable balance is likely to be materially misstated, while not providing sufficient appropriate evidence for the assurance practitioner to determine that they are in fact misstated. In that case, the assurance practitioner is required to perform additional procedures, for example, requesting from management an analysis of amounts received for those accounts after the balance sheet date to identify uncollectible accounts receivable. The evaluation of the results of the additional procedures may enable the assurance practitioner to get to (a) or (b) above. If not, the assurance practitioner is required to:
      1. Continue performing additional procedures until the assurance practitioner reaches either (a) or (b) above; or
      2. If the assurance practitioner is not able to either conclude that the matter is not likely to cause the financial statements as a whole to be materially misstated, or to determine that the matter does cause the financial statements as a whole to be materially misstated, then a scope limitation exists and the assurance practitioner is not able to form an unmodified conclusion on the financial statements.

Written Representations

(Ref: Para. 61–63)

Aus A108.1

An illustrative representation letter for a review engagement is set out in [Aus] Appendix 1A to this ASRE.

Evaluating Evidence Obtained from the Procedures Performed

(Ref: Para. 66–68)

A109

In some circumstances, the assurance practitioner may not have obtained the evidence that the assurance practitioner had expected to obtain through the design of primarily enquiry and analytical procedures and procedures addressing specific circumstances. In these circumstances, the assurance practitioner considers that the evidence obtained from the procedures performed is not sufficient and appropriate to be able to form a conclusion on the financial statements. The assurance practitioner may:

  • Extend the work performed; or
  • Perform other procedures judged by the assurance practitioner to be necessary in the circumstances.

Where neither of these is practicable in the circumstances, the assurance practitioner will not be able to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence to be able to form a conclusion and is required by this ASRE to determine the effect on the assurance practitioner’s report, or on the assurance practitioner’s ability to complete the engagement, for example, if a member of management is unavailable at the time of the review to respond to the assurance practitioner's enquiries on significant matters. This situation may arise even though the assurance practitioner has not become aware of a matter(s) that causes the assurance practitioner to believe the financial statements may be materially misstated, as addressed in paragraph 57.

Scope Limitations

Forming the Assurance practitioner’s Conclusion on the Financial Statements

Description of the Applicable Financial Reporting Framework (Ref: Para. 69(a))

Disclosure of Effects of Material Transactions and Events on Information Conveyed in the Financial Statements (Ref: Para. 69(b)(vi), 71)

Considerations When a Compliance Framework Is Used

Qualitative Aspects of the Entity’s Accounting Practices (Ref: Para. 70(b))

A117

In considering the qualitative aspects of the entity’s accounting practices, the assurance practitioner may become aware of possible bias in management’s judgements. The assurance practitioner may conclude that the cumulative effect of a lack of neutrality, together with the effect of apparent uncorrected misstatements, causes the financial statements as a whole to be materially misstated. Indicators of a lack of neutrality that may affect the assurance practitioner’s evaluation of whether the financial statements as a whole may be materially misstated include the following:

  • The selective correction of apparent misstatements brought to management’s attention during the review (for example, correcting misstatements with the effect of increasing reported earnings, but not correcting misstatements that have the effect of decreasing reported earnings).
  • Possible management bias in the making of accounting estimates.

Form of the Conclusion (Ref: Para. 74)

Description of the Information the Financial Statements Present

“Present fairly, in all material respects” or “gives a true and fair view”

Inability to Form a Conclusion Due to a Management‑Imposed Limitation on the Scope of the Review after Engagement Acceptance (Ref: Para. 15, 82)

Communication with Regulators or the Entity’s Owners

The Assurance Practitioner’s Report

(Ref: Para. 86–92)

Elements of the Assurance Practitioner’s Report (Ref: Para. 86)

A125

A title indicating the report is the report of an independent assurance practitioner, for example, “Independent Assurance Practitioner’s Review Report,” affirms that the assurance practitioner has met all of the relevant ethical requirements regarding independence and, therefore, distinguishes the independent assurance practitioner’s report from reports issued by others.

A126

Law or regulation may specify to whom the assurance practitioner’s report is to be addressed in that particular jurisdiction. The assurance practitioner’s report is normally addressed to those for whom the report is prepared, often either to the shareholders or to those charged with governance of the entity whose financial statements are being reviewed.

Management’s Responsibility for the Financial Statements (Ref: Para. 86(d))

A129

The assurance practitioner’s report need not refer specifically to “management” but instead may use the term that is appropriate in the context of the legal framework in the particular jurisdiction.  In some jurisdictions, the appropriate reference is to those charged with governance of the entity.

A130

There may be circumstances when it is appropriate for the assurance practitioner to add to the description of management’s responsibilities as described in this ASRE to reflect additional responsibilities that are relevant to the preparation of the financial statements in the context of a jurisdiction, or due to the type of entity.

The Assurance Practitioner’s Responsibility (Ref: Para. 86(f))

Reference to standards (Ref: Para. 86(f))

Communication of the Nature of a Review of Financial Statements (Ref: Para. 86(g))

Description of the Applicable Financial Reporting Framework and How It May Affect the Assurance Practitioner’s Conclusion (Ref: Para. 86(i)(ii))

A135

The identification of the applicable financial reporting framework in the assurance practitioner’s conclusion is intended to advise users of the assurance practitioner’s report of the context in which that conclusion is expressed. It is not intended to limit the evaluation required in paragraph 30(a). The applicable financial reporting framework is identified in such terms as:

“… in accordance with Australian Accounting Standards;” or

“… in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in Jurisdiction X …”

Basis for Modification Paragraph When the Conclusion Is Modified (Ref: Para. 85(h)(ii))

Signature of the Assurance Practitioner (Ref: Para. 86(l))

Alerting Readers that the Financial Statements Are Prepared in Accordance with a Special Purpose Framework (Ref: Para. 88)

Restriction on Distribution or Use

Other Reporting Responsibilities (Ref: Para. 91)

A142

In some cases, the relevant law or regulation may require or permit the assurance practitioner to report on these other responsibilities within the assurance practitioner’s report on the financial statements. In other cases, the assurance practitioner may be required or permitted to report on them in a separate report.

Date of the Assurance Practitioner’s Report (Ref: Para. 86(k), 92)

A145

The assurance practitioner’s conclusion is provided on the financial statements and the financial statements are the responsibility of management.  The assurance practitioner is not in a position to conclude that sufficient appropriate evidence has been obtained until the assurance practitioner is satisfied that all the statements that comprise the financial statements, including the related notes, have been prepared and management has accepted responsibility for them.

A146

In some jurisdictions, law or regulation identifies the individuals or bodies (for example, the directors) that are responsible for concluding that all the statements that comprise the financial statements, including the related notes, have been prepared, and specifies the necessary approval process. In such cases, evidence is obtained of that approval before dating the report on the financial statements.  In other jurisdictions, however, the approval process is not prescribed in law or regulation.  In such cases, the procedures the entity follows in preparing and finalising its financial statements in view of its management and governance structures are considered in order to identify the individuals or body with the authority to conclude that all the statements that comprise the financial statements, including the related notes, have been prepared.  In some cases, law or regulation may identify the point in the financial statement reporting process at which the review is expected to be complete.

Assurance Practitioner’s Report Prescribed by Law or Regulation (Ref: Para. 3435, 86)

A148

Consistency in the assurance practitioner’s report, when the review has been conducted in accordance with this ASRE, which uses the equivalent ISRE 2400 (Revised) Engagements to Review Historical Financial Statements as the underlying standard, promotes credibility in the global marketplace by making more readily identifiable those reviews of financial statements that have been conducted in accordance with globally recognised standards.  The assurance practitioner’s report may refer to this ASRE when the differences between the legal or regulatory requirements and this ASRE relate only to the layout or wording of the assurance practitioner’s report and, at a minimum, the report complies with the requirements of paragraph 86 of this ASRE.  Accordingly, in such circumstances the assurance practitioner is considered to have complied with the requirements of this ASRE, even when the layout and wording used in the assurance practitioner’s report are specified by legal or regulatory reporting requirements.  Where specific requirements in a particular jurisdiction do not conflict with this ASRE, adoption of the layout and wording used in this ASRE assists users of the assurance practitioner’s report to more readily recognise the assurance practitioner’s report as a report on a review of financial statements conducted in accordance with this ASRE. Circumstances where law or regulation prescribes the layout or wording of the assurance practitioner’s report in terms that are significantly different from the requirements of this ASRE are addressed in the requirements of this ASRE concerning acceptance of review engagements and continuance of client relationships.

Assurance Practitioner’s Report for Reviews Conducted in Accordance with Both Relevant Standards of a Specific Jurisdiction and this ASRE (Ref: Para. 86(f))

Illustrative Review Reports (Ref: Para. 86)

A150

Appendix 2 to this ASRE contains illustrations of assurance practitioners’ reports for a review of financial statements incorporating the reporting requirements of this ASRE.

Documentation

Timeliness of Engagement Documentation (Ref: Para. 93)

A151

ASQC 1 requires the firm to establish time limits that reflect the need to complete the assembly of final engagement files on a timely basis.

6

See ASA 600, Special Considerations―Audits of a Group Financial Report (Including the Work of Component Auditors), paragraph A52

7

See ASQC 1, paragraph 11

*_3

Issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board.

8

See Framework for Assurance Engagements, paragraph 17 

9

See Framework for Assurance Engagements, paragraph 34.

10

See Framework for Assurance Engagements, paragraph 17(b)(ii).

11

See, for example, Sections 225.44–225.48 of APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants.

12

See, for example, Section 225.51 to 225.52 of APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants.

13

See, for example, Section 140.7 and Section 225.53 of  APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants.

Illustrative Engagement Letter for an Engagement to Review Historical Financial Statements

Appendix 1

 

Download example Engagement Letter.

 

 

Illustrative Representation Letter for a Review Engagement

[Aus] Appendix 1A

 

Download example Representation Letter.

 

 

Illustrative Assurance practitioners’ Review Reports

Appendix 2

 

Download example Review Reports.

 

 

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