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January 14, 2008

Clarity Project hits major milestone

The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board has completed the first phase of its Clarity Project by releasing the last two standards for public exposure.

The exposure drafts of International Standard on Auditing (ISA) 210 Agreeing the Terms of Audit Engagements and ISA 710 Comparative Information – Corresponding Figures and Comparative Financial Statements complete a set of 32 standards that form the Clarity Project. Of this, some standards have been completed, a number are at the exposure draft stage, and the remainder have completed public exposure and are in the final stages of the clarity process.

International Federation of Accountants executive director of professional standards Jim Sylph told TA the project is well on track to meet its late-2008 deadline. “We reached the milestone where we’ve got everything out in the marketplace and it now has been seen. It’s been a huge task, both staff resource but mostly the volunteer resource that’s made up by the board. The board has put in extra meetings and the board volunteers have been incredible in the amount of time they have donated to achieve this objective,” he said.

The team working on the Clarity Project is made up of eight full-time staff, four part-time staff and 18 voluntary board members. When completed, 21 extant ISAs will have been fully revised, updated or redrafted and the remaining 11 will have been redrafted in accordance with the new conventions. In addition, International Standard on Quality Control 1 will have been redrafted and a new ISA on communicating deficiencies in internal control developed.

More than 100 countries use or base their national auditing standards on ISAs. The US, which uses standards set by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, is the only notable exception.

However, Sylph noted: “I think we can see IFRS having full global acceptance and option within the next few years and I think that has set the right tone for them to consider doing something similar in the auditing standards arena.”

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