Welcome to the final part of our 6-part series of articles about how audit committees ("ACs") can prepare and deal with new legislation. Specifically, the law of 23 July 2016 on the audit profession ("Law") and Regulation (EU) N° 537/2014 ("Regulation") will affect the roles and responsibilities of ACs, as well as their relationships with external auditors.
Step 6 – What should the additional report of the external auditor to the AC include?
In this article, we focus on step 6.
In addition to its expanded audit report, the statutory auditor of a public interest entity ("PIE") is also required to provide a specific written report to the AC. This report is part of the new requirements for statutory auditors of PIEs to give more insights on the audit.
This additional report will provide the AC with more detailed information on the results of the audit, together with explanatory text.
The statutory auditor of a PIE is required to disclose, in particular, 'the quantitative level of materiality applied to perform the statutory audit for the financial statements as a whole and the qualitative factors which were considered when setting the level of materiality'. Also to be included are 'judgements about events or conditions identified in the course of the audit that may cast significant doubt on the entity's ability to continue as a going concern and whether they constitute a material uncertainty'.
Although many of the requirements do not constitute a significant departure from current practice, there are some new requirements, some that demand more specificity and some that still require further clarification, including:
- a description of the nature, frequency and extent of communication with the AC, including the dates of the meetings with those bodies
- a description of which balance sheet categories have been directly verified and which have been based on system and compliance testing
- a report on and assessment of the valuation methods applied to the various items in the financial statements, including the impact of any changes in such methods
- any significant deficiencies in the entity's or, in the case of consolidated financial statements, the parent undertaking's internal financial control system and/or accounting system; for each such significant deficiency, the additional report must state whether the deficiency in question has been resolved by the management
- the significant difficulties, if any, encountered during the audit
The statutory auditor must submit the additional report to the AC not later than the date of submission of the audit report. The external auditor is also required to make the additional report available to the CSSF without delay.
This report is therefore a key milestone for the AC to engage with the statutory auditor and to obtain his/her critical judgement and insights that add value to the entity.
Questions? Watch out for our Audit Committee Handbook, which is coming soon!
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.