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The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) seeks public comment by July 1, 2019 on three interrelated standards that address quality management. The proposals bring important changes to the way professional accountancy firms are expected to manage quality—for audits, reviews, and other assurance and related services engagements.
The proposed standards include a new proactive risk-based approach to effective quality management systems within firms that establish the foundation for consistent engagement quality. The new approach improves the scalability of the standards because it promotes a system tailored to the nature and circumstances of the firm and its engagements.
The IAASB proposals are intended to improve engagement quality through:
- Modernizing the standards for an evolving and increasingly complex environment, including addressing the impact of technology, networks, and use of external service providers;
- Increasing firm leadership responsibilities and accountability, and improving firm governance;
- More rigorous monitoring of quality management systems and remediating deficiencies;
- Enhancing the engagement partner’s responsibility for audit engagement leadership and audit quality; and
- Addressing the robustness of engagement quality reviews, including engagement selection, documentation, and performance.
Given the significance of the changes and the need for firms to adjust how they manage quality, the IAASB has also developed draft guidance and tools, such as examples and frequently asked questions. These materials will help firms understand the proposals, including how to apply them in different circumstances.