Standards board drops hiatus

The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board is
considering a two-year hiatus on new audit standards.

IAASB chair John Kellas told the annual European SME/SMP
congress in the Netherlands this month that the board “may have
something to say about giving new audit standards a rest for two
years” when it releases its strategy, which is due next

The focus of Kellas’s presentation at the congress was assurance
services for SMEs. He said the issue of assurance is “coming to a
head” because of issues such as regulatory pressure and complexity
of standards.

Kellas said a strategy document questioning whether audit impedes
other valuable services is due out soon. The document will ask
questions such as whether independence requirements prevent firms
from providing other services, whether other services could be more
valuable in the case of limited resources and whether there is a
need for an alternative assurance service for smaller

Also speaking on assurance services for SMEs, the EC Internal
Market Directorate General head of audit, Jürgen Tiedje, said that
from his observations of the regulatory world, audit is becoming
more important. Tiedje said the EC is not going to change audit
thresholds and there is no “simplification project looming and none
planned by European bureaucrats”.

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Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales technical
executive director Robert Hodgkinson suggested the profession is
feeling that “audit is being taken away from us” by the regulators.
“We owe it to the profession to abide by the standards,” Hodgkinson
said. “We have to be prepared to justify our position. We have to
be seen to be adding value and we need to be ready to take the
judgement of markets.”

Hodgkinson credits the accounting profession as creators of the
modern audit. “The fact that regulators have finally caught up and
claimed it as their own is a sign of success, not despair,” he