Searching for the line on nonaudit services

According to an article by Maureen Schwartz "Audit Independence and Consulting: Where is the Line?" (CPA Practice Advisor, March 28, 2018), the "independence waters" have been muddied by the proliferation of consulting services offered by audit firms and their associated fees. The article quotes Bill Thompson, a risk consultant with CPA Mutual, who implores auditors to carefully evaluate potential threats associated with consulting services, especially those that impact financial reporting. He also cautions against certain types of fee arrangements and conflicts of interests, adding that "a(n insurance) claim becomes much more difficult and complicated if an alleged audit failure is coupled with questions about auditor independence." Thompson also notes the changes taking place in the profession and global standards, specifically citing the recently proposed AICPA independence rule on Information System Services. The article closes by emphasizing that firms need to put ethics and independence compliance at the forefront of their client acceptance and continuance policies.

Good advice.