Auditing Standards Issued in 2019: Information and Resources

This is an exciting time in the auditing space. Standards are changing to keep up with today’s business environment. To set you up for success, we gathered all the AICPA’s valuable resources and information on three new auditing standards in one place. Check back often to find the latest resources.

Statement on Auditing Standards, Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements of Employee Benefit Plans Subject to ERISA (SAS No. 136)

The new employee benefit plan (EBP) auditing standard addresses the auditor’s responsibility to form an opinion and report on the audit of financial statements of employee benefit plans subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), and the form and content of the auditor’s report issued as a result of an audit of ERISA plan financial statements.

The SAS includes new requirements for:

  • engagement acceptance
  • audit risk assessment and response
  • communications with those charged with governance
  • procedures for an ERISA section 103(a)(3)(C) audit
  • considerations relating to the Form 5500

The SAS also contains a new report format for ERISA section 103(a)(3)(C) audits. For audits of ERISA plan financial statements only, this SAS would apply in place of AU-C section 700, Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements, and paragraph .09 of AU-C section 725, Supplementary Information in Relation to the Financial Statements as a Whole (AICPA, Professional Standards). Under the new standard, reports on audits of employee benefit plans will provide users with enhanced transparency about the nature of the audit of a plan as well as the responsibilities of both the plan and the plan’s auditors.

Effective date:

Effective for audits of ERISA plan financial statements for periods ending on or after Dec. 15, 2020, SAS No. 136 applies only to audits of employee benefit plans that are subject to ERISA.  Early implementation is not permitted.

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The Auditor’s Responsibilities Relating to Other Information Included in Annual Reports (SAS No. 137)

SAS No. 137 provides transparency related to the auditor’s responsibility for other information included in an annual report when the auditor has obtained all the other information at the date of the auditor’s report on the financial statements. The standard supersedes SAS No. 118, Other Information In Documents Containing Audited Financial Statements, as amended and codified in AU-C Section 720.

Effective date:

Effective for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after Dec. 15, 2020. Early implementation is not permitted.

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Auditor Reporting and Amendments, Including Amendments Addressing Disclosures in the Audit of Financial Statements (SAS No. 134)

SAS No. 134 significantly changes the form and content of the auditor’s report issued after auditing a set of financial statements. The SAS also addresses the auditor’s responsibility to form an opinion on the financial statements. The auditor reporting suite of standards will benefit users of audited financial statements throughout the U.S. by placing the auditor’s opinion at the front of the report for added visibility and providing necessary transparency into the basis for the auditor’s opinion and the responsibilities of both entity management and auditors.

SAS No. 134 is a suite of auditor reporting standards that includes a new AU-C section 701, Communicating Key Audit Matters in the Independent Auditor’s Report, and replaces the following AU-C sections in AICPA Professional Standards:

  • Section 700, Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements
  • Section 705, Modifications to the Opinion in the Independent Auditor’s Report
  • Section 706, Emphasis-of-Matter Paragraphs and Other-Matter Paragraphs in the Independent Auditor’s Report

Effective date:

Effective for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2020. Early implementation is not permitted.

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Omnibus Statement on Auditing Standards—2019 (SAS No. 135)

SAS No. 135 is intended to more closely align Auditing Standards Board (ASB) guidance with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board's (PCAOB) standards primarily by amending AU-C section 260, Communications With Those Charged With Governance, AU-C section 550, Related Parties, and AU-C section 240, Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit, in AICPA Professional Standards. By eliminating unnecessary differences between the ASB guidance and PCAOB standards, auditors who perform audits under both sets of auditing standards will experience more consistency between the guidance and standards thereby enhancing audit quality.

Effective date:

Effective for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2020. Early implementation is not permitted.

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