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Page 1 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information NOCLAR Caroline Gardner, Task Force Chair IESBA Meeting New York October 13-15, 2014.

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Presentation on theme: "Page 1 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information NOCLAR Caroline Gardner, Task Force Chair IESBA Meeting New York October 13-15, 2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 Page 1 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information NOCLAR Caroline Gardner, Task Force Chair IESBA Meeting New York October 13-15, 2014

2 Page 2 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Key project objective –To create framework to guide professional accountants (PAs) in deciding how best to serve public interest when they come across suspected NOCLAR Balancing acting in public interest vs. confidentiality principle Debate is about what is reasonable to ask of PAs within their role in the public interest See Supplement to Agenda Item 6 – original ED vs. proposed revised framework NOCLAR – Recap

3 Page 3 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information A right (vs. a duty) to override confidentiality to serve the public interest A less prescriptive approach to the guidance No limitation on the type of reportable non-compliance Two separate thresholds for actions –Understand the matter if it is other than clearly inconsequential –Evaluate the client’s response if the matter could have significant consequences for the client or others Communication between successor and predecessor auditors Tentative Board Decisions – December 2013 NOCLAR – Recap

4 Page 4 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information NOCLAR Roundtables Hong Kong (May 20), Brussels (June 13), Washington DC (July 10) Over 160 senior-level participants from wide range of stakeholder groups Observers: –PIOB members and staff –IESBA CAG Chair –IAASB members

5 Page 5 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Jurisdictions Represented NOCLAR Roundtables Hong Kong Roundtable (10) Australia, China (mainland), Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan Brussels Rountdtable (12) Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Russian Federation, Senegal, Spain, Sweden, UK Washington DC Roundtable (5) Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Pakistan, USA (G-20 countries in bold)

6 Page 6 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Balance of Representation NOCLAR Roundtables

7 Page 7 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information No support for doing nothing Responsibility to deal with suspected NOCLAR rests with management –In most cases, management and TCWG will do the right thing Applying laws and regulations must be the starting point –Will cover most situations PAs are not the police Application of professional judgment essential throughout the process Overarching Themes NOCLAR Roundtables – Main Feedback

8 Page 8 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Too broad –Any law could be relevant –Trying to solve all problems? Burdening PAs with greater responsibility than anyone else? Legal competence? Scope – Key Concerns NOCLAR Roundtables – Main Feedback

9 Page 9 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Broad consensus that matter should be related to PA’s expertise –Challenges become greater the further the suspected NOCLAR is outside PA’s expertise Suggestions: –Consider hard core of issues – criminal acts? –Distinguish between NOCLARs within PA’s expertise and other NOCLARs –Differentiate between PIEs/non-PIEs? Mixed views on provision of examples Scope – Other Feedback NOCLAR Roundtables – Main Feedback

10 Page 10 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information “Clearly inconsequential” threshold too low –Unnecessary diversion to pursue small matters –Who will pay for investigation costs? –Do not underestimate number of NOCLARs a PAIB may come across in certain roles, e.g., internal audit –Unworkable with broad scope More guidance needed re “clearly inconsequential”, “significant consequences”, “gravity” Materiality Thresholds – Key Concerns NOCLAR Roundtables – Main Feedback

11 Page 11 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Introduce reasonable and informed third party test Consider definition of a PIE when evaluating significance Make threshold consistent with objective Introduce filter along public interest line Materiality Thresholds – Suggestions Received NOCLAR Roundtables – Main Feedback

12 Page 12 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Categories of PAs – Level of Expectations NOCLAR Roundtables – Main Feedback Auditors Non- Auditors Senior PAIBs Other PAIBs

13 Page 13 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Ethical principles should be the same for all PAs –But implementation can be different and must be practical Will depend on: –Sphere of influence –Operating context, e.g., individual PA vs. firm Unbundle the different dimensions? –Different roles of PA; positions in entity’s hierarchy; public expectations Categories of PAs – Other Feedback NOCLAR Roundtables – Main Feedback

14 Page 14 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Little support for junior PAIBs to report externally –Majority expectation of escalation to supervisor or through internal WB system Recognition that for PA providing NAS, easier to discuss the matter with the external auditor if both are from the same firm Recognize potential for non-level playing field –PAs vs other accountants; CFOs who are PAs vs other CFOs Categories of PAs – Other Feedback NOCLAR Roundtables – Main Feedback

15 Page 15 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Requirement to Report Suspected NOCLAR to an Appropriate Authority NOCLAR Roundtables – Main Feedback Support from some regulators and investors for a requirement, subject to appropriate conditions –Public expectation for PA to report, esp. if matter is beyond reasonable doubt –Focus should be more on auditors – demonstrate they have done something –Requirement sets clearer expectation than a permission –Suggesting that PA does what PA thinks is best is of little value –Order 10A under U.S. securities regulation a powerful deterrent – a good reason for a requirement in the Code?

16 Page 16 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Requirement to Report Suspected NOCLAR to an Appropriate Authority NOCLAR Roundtables – Main Feedback Most other participants, including some regulators, believe a requirement would not be operable –Legal framework must be starting point –Unrealistic for reporting requirement premised on perfect world conditions –What does protection mean? –Trusted legal due process? –Should the Code be used as a deterrent for management to do wrong thing? –How to identify appropriate authority and can it act on the information?

17 Page 17 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Requirement to Report Suspected NOCLAR to an Appropriate Authority – Other Feedback NOCLAR Roundtables – Main Feedback Do not ignore that TCWG have an important role to play Common views that reporting would depend on legal advice Must consider fear of reprisal (personal safety, etc) Local frameworks in some jurisdictions may help, e.g. enhanced auditor reporting Resignation an important tool for auditors

18 Page 18 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Other Issues NOCLAR Roundtables – Main Feedback Mixed views on reporting to the external auditor –Some views that PAs providing NAS should consider reporting to external auditor, but also concerns about auditor becoming gatekeeper –Greater expectation of communication by PAs providing NAS when firm also is the entity’s auditor Some concerns about PA’s ability to evaluate response of management/TCWG Concerns about scoping in forensic accountants

19 Page 19 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Other Suggestions/Considerations NOCLAR Roundtables – Main Feedback Need to place greater emphasis on management doing right thing –Including setting the right tone at the top Consider need for “pressure release valves” Consider foreseeable harm to stakeholders in determining whether to report to an appropriate authority Avoid making the standard overly prescriptive Well-being of the profession also in the public interest

20 Page 20 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Task Force Proposals

21 Page 21 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Objectives Establish key objectives for PA in acting in public interest: –Comply with fundamental principles: integrity and professional behavior –Through alerting management/TCWG, seek to:  Have NOCLAR consequences rectified, remediated or mitigated; or  Deter commission of NOCLAR –Take further appropriate action to serve public interest Task Force Proposals

22 Page 22 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Scope All PAs: laws and regulations covered by ISA 250 –Those laws and regulations with direct effect on financial statements –Other laws and regulations that may be fundamental to entity’s business and operations No distinction between PIEs and non-PIEs Task Force Proposals

23 Page 23 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Auditors – Requirements Raise with management/TCWG if not clearly inconsequential –Substantiate/dispel –Prompt management/TCWG to rectify/remediate/mitigate consequences, stop NOCLAR, or report to appropriate authority Fulfill professional responsibilities: comply with laws and regulations and professional standards Determine if further action required to achieve objectives and serve public interest –Nature and extent of further action will depend on various factors Task Force Proposals

24 Page 24 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Auditors – Determination of Further Action Options for further action –Inform parent entity if applicable –Report to appropriate authority –Withdraw from engagement and client relationship where permitted by law Will depend on legal and regulatory framework Must apply third party test –Would 3 rd party, weighing all the facts and circumstances and factors considered in determining further action, likely conclude that PA has acted appropriately in serving public interest? Task Force Proposals

25 Page 25 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Senior PAIBs Director, officer or employee able to exert significant influence over preparation of accounting records or financial statements or compliance with laws and regulations Overarching expectations –Set right tone at the top –Establish appropriate framework within entity to prevent NOCLAR Task Force Proposals

26 Page 26 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Senior PAIBs – Requirements Fulfill professional responsibilities –Raise with superior/TCWG –Comply with laws and regulations –Rectify/remediate/mitigate consequences –Seek to deter commission of NOCLAR –Alert external auditor Determine if further action required to achieve objectives and serve public interest –Nature and extent of further action will depend on various factors Task Force Proposals

27 Page 27 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Senior PAIBs – Determination of Further Action Options for further action –Inform parent entity if applicable –Report to appropriate authority –Resign from employment relationship Will depend on legal and regulatory framework Must apply third party test –Would 3 rd party, weighing all the facts and circumstances and factors considered in determining further action, likely conclude that PA has acted appropriately in serving public interest? Task Force Proposals

28 Page 28 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information PAs in Public Practice Other Than Auditors Actions –Discuss with appropriate level of management or TCWG –If client also an audit client, consider informing lead audit engagement partner Stand back –Consider whether can remain associated with the client –Consider whether further action required, e.g. disclosing to external auditor or appropriate authority –Will depend on various factors Task Force Proposals

29 Page 29 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information PAIBs Other Than Senior PAIBs Baseline actions –Escalate to immediate superior; or –Use established internal whistle-blowing mechanism Task Force Proposals

30 Page 30 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Documentation Required for auditors under auditing standards Encouraged for other PAs Task Force Proposals

31 Page 31 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information September 2014 CAG Meeting

32 Page 32 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Main Matters Raised CAG Feedback Very positive feedback on roundtables from Representatives who participated re: –Overall planning and organization –Diversity and caliber of participants Continuing support from some Representatives for a duty to report to an appropriate authority in the Code, with focus on auditors But support from other Representatives for revised framework

33 Page 33 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Main Matters Raised CAG Feedback A recognition that even if legally required to report to appropriate authority, auditors and PAIBs are not reporting NOCLAR in practice –A view that words alone may not lead to an improved outcome, but a need to look at broader mindset issue and education Some split views re whether “clearly inconsequential” threshold too low Some support for guiding senior PAIBs to set right tone at the top and taking steps to prevent NOCLAR Some support for 3 rd party test A number of suggested refinements taken on board re framework

34 Page 34 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information October 2014 Forum of Firms Meeting

35 Page 35 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Main Matters Raised FoF Feedback Some concern about PAs providing NAS being put at a disadvantage vs non-PAs who provide similar services (non-level playing field) A view that it is unrealistic for the Code to impose a requirement to disclose across a wide range of laws and regulations around the world –Belief re why Order 10A in the US works so well as a deterrent: because it is uniquely tailored to the US environment Some support for looking at what auditors should do in the public interest

36 Page 36 | Proprietary and Copyrighted Information Next Steps TimingAction Oct 2014Discussion with IFIAR Nov 2014Discussion with EAIG Dec 2014/ Jan 2015 CAG teleconference (?) Jan 2015Re-ED for Board discussion/approval (?)

37 The Ethics Board


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