Proposed New Independence Requirements
A new exposure draft proposes changes to the independence standards within the profession’s Rules of Professional Conduct (Rule).
The recommendations were formulated by the Independence Task Force of the Public Trust Committee. The task force reviewed the independence provisions issued in 2003 to determine what changes may be appropriate to protect the public interest in light of recent revisions to the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (Code) issued by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants.
Proposed changes include:
- Improvements to clarity and enforceability
- Starting in 2018, the elimination of the $10 million threshold that currently provides an exemption for audits of smaller reporting issuers from the more restrictive independence requirements for larger reporting issuers
- Restrictions around the provision of tax planning or other tax advice to audit or review clients
The exposure draft also speaks to: listed entities that are not Canadian reporting issuers, co-operatives, credits unions or caisse populaires, and social clubs; network firms; related entities; partner rotation; key audit partner compensation; relative size of fees; mergers and acquisitions; and other changes to conform to the Code.
The task force will consider the comments in the summer of 2013. The finalized Rule and Council Interpretations will then be sent to the provincial and territorial institutes/Ordre with a recommendation for adoption with application for assurance engagements commencing after December 15th, 2014 with transitional provisions as appropriate to ensure the public is not prejudiced by the changes.