Important Change to Audit Reports for 2020 Year Ends


Following our last two blogs on estimates and  going concern in recent weeks about the latest audit standards effective for 31 December 2020 audits, this week we look at the new style audit report.

Changes to ISA 700 as a result of the Going Concern Standard

As we pointed out last week ISA 570 triggers a new wording for the audit report.

Here is a sample of the text to be used regarding going concern, using a ‘positive’ rather than the ‘negative’ style wording used heretofore.  The ‘negative style’ wording was in use for accounting periods commencing before 15 December 2019. This new ‘positive style’ wording is applicable for audit reports for periods commencing on/after 15 December 2019:

Conclusions relating to going concern

We have nothing to report in respect of the following matters in relation to which the ISAs (Ireland) require us to report to you where:

  • the directors’ use of the going concern basis of accounting in the preparation of the financial statements is not appropriate: or
  • the directors have not disclosed in the financial statements any identified material uncertainties that may cast significant doubt about the entity’s ability to continue to adopt the going concern basis of accounting for a period of at least twelve months from the date when the financial statements are authorised for issue.’

You will need to check that your accounting software suppliers have updated the relevant text for accounting periods commencing on/or after 15 December 2019 which in practical terms means audits for periods ending 31 December 2020.

The new template audit reports were published by the IAASA in October 2020 (which appear on their website) and incorporate the changes to the going concern standard. They now refer to going concern using ‘positive’ rather than ‘negative’ language mentioned above. Beware that the template audit reports published by the IAASA, do not include the ‘Bannerman’ paragraph. See the audit report sample wording for the Bannerman paragraph below.

Two new Technical Alerts are due shortly from Chartered Accountants Ireland, and expect new audit programmes in the early part of 2021, dealing with the changes in ISA 570 and 540. Check with your usual supplier for more details.

‘The purpose of our audit work and to whom we owe our responsibilities

Our report is made solely to the Company’s members, as a body, in accordance with section 391 of the Companies Act 2014. Our audit work has been undertaken so that we might state to the Company’s members those matters we are required to state to them in an auditor’s report and for no other purpose. To the fullest extent permitted by law, we do not accept or assume responsibility to anyone other than the Company and the Company’s members, as a body, for our audit work, for this report, or for the opinions we have formed’.

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