UK adopts International Assurance Standard ISAE 3000
The FRC has announced the UK adoption of International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) 3000
International Standard on Assurance Engagements (ISAE) (UK) 3000, Assurance Engagements Other Than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information, adopts the corresponding ISAE issued by the IAASB but has been modified to require that assurance practitioners applying it for engagements that the FRC has designated as "public interest assurance engagements" comply with the FRC's Ethical Standard. These will be assurance engagements where an audit level of independence is appropriate and expected by stakeholders. For other assurance engagements, practitioners have to comply with the relevant independence and other ethical provisions of their professional body and the Code of Ethics issued by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) specific to such types of other assurance engagement.
The FRC has not, at this time, designated any such "public interest assurance engagements". However, it is appropriate to adopt the standard now to provide for a timely response should the FRC be requested to regulate the conduct of particular public interest assurance engagements in response to the outcome of recent and future reviews of the scope of auditors' responsibilities and other developments. Voluntary application to other assurance engagements is permitted (the international version of the standard is already applied voluntarily by firms in the UK).
ISAE (UK) 3000 is a principles-based standard that is designed to be capable of being applied effectively to a broad range of subject matters. The requirements and guidance are included to cover both reasonable assurance and limited assurance engagements.
The FRC consultation on the adoption of ISAE (UK) 3000 proposed that the standard would become effective for assurance reports dated on or after 15 September 2020. They recognised this would only leave a short period of time after the finalised standards were issued, however, they have explained that application of the standard will be mandatory only if specific mandatory assurance reporting requirements are established by that date. Currently, there are no such assurance reporting requirements. However, having the standard ready and “effective” will help provide for any such specification (which may be later than 15 September 2020), where necessary, in a timely manner.
The adoption of ISAE 3000 in the UK is timely as the IAASB recently consulted on their draft guidance on Emerging External Reporting (EER) Assurance which is intended to assist practitioners in the application of ISAE 3000 to different forms of reporting.