AICPA Proposed Auditing Standard Tackles Evolution of Audit Evidence in Today’s Business Environment

Use of Emerging Technologies like Audit Data Analytics and Blockchain Addressed in Proposed New Standard

June 20, 2019

NEW YORK (June 20, 2019) – The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) Auditing Standards Board (ASB) has issued Proposed Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS), Audit Evidence, to supersede SAS No. 122, Statements on Auditing Standards: Clarification and Recodification, as amended, section 500, Audit Evidence, and amend various other AU-C sections in AICPA Professional Standards.

“Given the rapid evolution of audit evidence sources that are available today, it is critically important that auditors have a robust, durable set of attributes that allows them to make consistent assessments about the sufficiency and appropriateness of audit evidence obtained,” said Robert Dohrer, CPA, CGMA, AICPA Chief Auditor. “This proposed SAS modernizes our standards to recognize the sources of information and the technologies that were not available to auditors when the standard was last updated.”

Interested parties are encouraged to submit their feedback by September 18, 2019. (More information, including the Explanatory Memorandum, may be found here.)

The proposed SAS addresses the evolving nature of business, audit services and issues that have arisen since the existing AU-C section 500 was originally issued. The issues include:

  • the use of information as audit evidence when emerging technologies are used by preparers and auditors (for example, audit data analytics and use of blockchain);
  • the application of professional skepticism;
  • the expanding sources of information to be used as audit evidence;
  • and more broadly, the accuracy, completeness, relevance and reliability of audit evidence.

The proposal includes a recommendation to shift the focus of the standard, including its objective to concentrate on helping the auditor assess whether sufficient and appropriate audit evidence has been obtained when the information is attained from sources not available in the past. The change is proposed to be accomplished by establishing a multi-dimensional consideration of attributes and factors to be used in evaluating audit evidence obtained from any source and regardless of how the auditor acquired the information, including the use of automated tools and techniques.