AICPA updates standard for audits of accounting estimates

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The American Institute of CPAs’ Auditing Standards Board released an updated standard for auditing accounting estimates and disclosures to deal with the increased volatility of the economy this year in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Statement on Auditing Standards No. 143, Auditing Accounting Estimates and Related Disclosures, supersedes the earlier SAS No. 122 section 540, Auditing Accounting Estimates, Including Fair Value Accounting Estimates, and Related Disclosures, and amends several other AU-C sections in the set of AICPA Professional Standards. It’s part of the AICPA’s larger Enhancing Audit Quality Initiative encouraging auditors to sharpen their focus on different factors driving estimation uncertainty and potential management bias.

“This new auditing standard provides more robust guidance for auditors who are addressing an increasingly complex financial reporting environment,” said AICPA chief auditor Bob Dohrer in a statement Friday. “In our current period of economic uncertainty and volatility, management’s asset impairment estimates are particularly important, and this standard will aid auditors in assessing them.”

In December 2018, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board adopted its own standard for auditing accounting estimates (see story), and the SEC approved it last July. The PCAOB standard applies to audits of public companies, while the AICPA standards generally pertain to private companies.

SAS No. 143 takes effect for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after Dec. 15, 2023. On Thursday, the AICPA updated its audit evidence standard (see story). The AICPA site Recently Issued Auditing and Attestation Standards: Information and Resources provides the latest information on these and related standards.

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