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IAASB Highlights How Expected Credit Loss Models Will Affect Auditors

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Signals broader efforts to strengthen auditor efforts on accounting estimates.

(New York, New York, March 2, 2016) – The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board® (IAASB®) today released a publication highlighting the audit issues arising from the shift to Expected Credit Loss (ECL) models when accounting for loan losses. ECL models are now required, or will soon be required, by some financial reporting frameworks, including IFRS 9, Financial Instruments, which will come into effect from January 1, 2018.

“The adoption and implementation of ECL models will, in many cases, bring significant challenges for auditors, management, those charged with governance (e.g., audit committees), supervisors, and users,” explained IAASB Chairman Prof. Arnold Schilder. “Auditors need to be aware of the changes related to ECL and the implications for audits. Auditors will need to be actively engaged in 2016 and 2017, in particular to understanding how an entity is planning for the adoption and implementation of its ECL models.”

The publication summarizes the audit challenges identified with respect to ECL and sets out initial thinking on how these challenges may be addressed under the current International Standards on Auditing™ (ISA™). The publication has been developed by a task force comprised of IAASB members and technical advisors, representatives from the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the International Association of Insurance Supervisors, bank auditors, and an observer from the US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

“Our work to date has benefited from input from different stakeholders from around the world,” highlighted Task Force Chair Rich Sharko. “The publication issued today is the result of extensive outreach with regulators, expert auditors from different industries, and others to capture the significant issues that arise in dealing with ECL models, as well as how they may be addressed under the current ISA pronouncements.”

“As a result, the publication is particularly relevant for auditors of financial institutions and other entities that have substantial credit risk exposures through holdings of loans and similar financial assets,” noted Task Force Co-Chair Marc Pickeur.

The publication also discusses how the IAASB’s new standard-setting project to revise ISA 540, Auditing Accounting Estimates, Including Fair Value Accounting Estimates, and Related Disclosures, will seek to further address these and other challenges that have been noted in respect of auditing accounting estimates, including in relation to audits of financial institutions.

“Accounting estimates are becoming more complex and subjective, and are critical to a user’s understanding of an entity’s performance,” noted IAASB Technical Director Kathleen Healy. “The IAASB will consider what revisions are necessary to ISA 540 to promote audit quality in the varied and complex scenarios that arise today, and that are likely to continue to evolve in the future.”