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Financial Reporting and the Law

The PCAOB has adopted amendments that reorganize the auditing standards it has adopted since its formation, including the auditing standards that it adopted as interim standards on April 16, 2003. The reorganization is intended to enhance the usability of auditing standards by organizing the PCAOB standards in the order of an audit process without substantively changing their requirements and by eliminating unnecessary standards. Described in PCAOB Release No. 2015-002 (March 31, 2015), the reorganized standards will take effect on December 31, 2016 (subject to SEC approval, with earlier adoption permitted) and will be published in an online version.

The reorganized standards are grouped into five categories that will facilitate the addition of any new standards within the appropriate category. Each auditing standard is assigned a four-digit number preceded by “AS,” and the paragraphs within the standard are set forth by decimal notation. There follows a list of the five categories and the identification of certain of the auditing standards included within each category:

  • General Auditing Standards—Standards on broad auditing principles, concepts, activities, and communications, including the following:
    • AS 1001, Responsibilities and Functions of the Independent Auditor, which was formerly PCAOB Interim Standard AU (“AU”) section 110 and that includes, in AS 1001.11, a reference to the availability of interpretations of auditing standards that the PCAOB adopted in connection with its adoption of the interim standards. The interpretations will be included on the PCAOB’s website and identified as “AI” followed by a two-digit number and a title that is the same as the related auditing standard followed by the applicable AS number
    • AS 1215, Audit Documentation, formerly PCAOB Auditing Standard No. (“AS No.”) 3
    • AS 1301, Communications with Audit Committees, formerly AS No. 16
  • Audit Procedures—Standards for planning and performing audit procedures and for obtaining audit evidence, including the following:
    • AS 2201, An Audit of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting, formerly AS No. 5
    • AS 2410, Related Parties, formerly AS No. 18
    • AS 2415, Consideration of an Entity’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern, formerly AU section 341 (the March 31, 2015 Standard-Setting Agenda issued by the PCAOB’s Office of the Chief Auditor (the “3/31/15 Standard-Setting Agenda”) states that a PCAOB Staff Consultation Paper on this topic will be issued between April 2015 and September 2015)
    • AS 2505, Inquiry of a Client’s Lawyer Concerning Litigation, Claims, and Assessments, formerly AU section 337
    • AS 2801, Subsequent Events, formerly AU section 560
    • AS 2805, Management Representations, formerly AU section 333
  • Auditor Reporting—Standards for Auditors’ Reports, including the following:
    • AS 3101, Reports on Audited Financial Statements, formerly AU section 508 (the 3/31/15 Standard-Setting Agenda states that a reproposal of proposed amendments to the auditor’s report is expected to be issued between April 2015 and September 2015)
  • Matters Relating to Filings Under Federal Securities Laws—Standards on certain responsibilities relating to SEC filings for securities offerings and reviews of interim financial information, including the following:
    • AS 4101, Responsibilities Regarding filings Under Federal Securities Statutes, formerly AU section 711
    • AS 4105, Reviews of Interim Financial Information, formerly AU section 722
  • Other Matters Associated with Audits—Standards for other work performed in conjunction with an audit, including the following:
    • AS 6101, Letters for Underwriters and Certain Other Requesting Parties, formerly AU section 634