The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants ("IESBA") held a meeting (virtually and in-person) on November 30 to December 3, and December 8 and 16, 2021. Highlights of the meeting follow:
New / Revised Provisions / Definitions
REVISED DEFINITIONS OF Listed Entity & Public interest entity ("pIE")
The IESBA unanimously approved revisions to the definitions of “listed entity” and “public interest entity” ("PIE") in the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) ("the Code"). The final pronouncement is expected to be released by April 2022 (assuming Public Interest Oversight Board (PIOB) approval) and will be effective for audits of financial statements for periods beginning on or after December 15, 2024.
Quality Management (CONFORMING AMENDMENTS)
The IESBA unanimously approved conforming amendments to the Code pursuant to finalization of the International Auditing and Assurance Standard Board’s (IAASB's) Quality Management Standards. The final pronouncement will be released by April 2022 (assuming PIOB approval) and conforming amendments will be effective as of December 15, 2022.
New Exposure Drafts ("EDs")
The IESBA approved the following proposals for exposure:
The first will propose (i) revisions to the Code’s definition of “engagement team” and related terms as a result of changes in the IAASB’s Quality Management ("QM") standards; (ii) revisions to address independence considerations in a group audit; and (iii) amendments to conform to the IAASB's ISA 600 (Revised) and QM standards.
- The ED is expected to be released by the end of January 2022 with a public comment period of 90 days.
The second will propose various changes to the Code related to technology.
- The Technology ED is expected to be released by the end of January 2022 with a public comment period of 120 days.
- The IESBA's Technology Working Group provided an update on its Q4 2021 activities, and the development of technology-related thought leadership and other resources.
- The IESBA provided preliminary input to its Tax Planning and Related Services Task Force, which is considering potential revisions to the Code to address the ethical implications of providing tax planning and related services to an employing organization or client. Discussion items included the distinctions among the concepts of tax morality, tax justice, tax fairness, and a professional accountant’s responsibility to act in the public interest.
The Benchmarking Working Group reported on its Phase 1 work, which involves comparing the IIS against the independence rules of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). The Working Group will present a final report and executive summary to the IESBA at its March 2022 meeting.
A bittersweet note: the IESBA bid good-bye to several members and the Board's Chair, Dr. Stavros Thomadakis. Dr. Thomadakis has led the Board since 2015 and you may click here to watch a video commemorating his and IESBA's accomplishments, which were extensive, under his leadership.
The IESBA’s next meeting is scheduled for March 14-16, 2022 (format of meeting to be confirmed).
For more information, see the IESBA's web site.