Engagements are usually on a fixed fee basis, which provides certainty over the cost and is a cost effective way of obtaining necessary expertise.
Whatever the scope of the project, deliverables include auditable documentation to corroborate the accounting and financial reporting conclusions reached to ensure the audit cost is managed and regulatory needs are satisfied.
1. Continuous disclosure oversight
CEO’s and CFO’s are required to certify the company’s internal controls over financial reporting (ICFR) for each reporting period. Engaging me for continuous disclosure oversight is an effective internal control to help support these certifications.
Note that involvement by the company’s auditor is not an internal control.
2. Financial statement preparation/assistance
Under both International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and Accounting Standards for Private Enterprises (ASPE), for example, where any of the following apply:
- management has no time available due to the competing demands of running the finance function for the business;
- the financials have a broad readership (such as outside investors or they are to be used in a public document as part of a transaction) which demands a higher financial reporting bar;
- a need exists to establish enhanced internal controls over financial reporting;
- a desire for a higher level of quality control due to accounting for complex transactions or events;
- separating the preparation of the financial statements from the audit is required to protect the auditor’s independence and objectivity; or
- there is a need or desire to ensure best practices are adopted.
Financial statement preparation includes documenting the financial reporting and accounting positions taken in determining: accounting policies, recognition and presentation issues, as necessary.
3. Ad hoc projects
Public companies have a need for expertise but many do not have the resource in-house. Assistance can be provided to satisfy demand from many sources:
- Adoption of new accounting standards:
– Revenue from Contracts with Customers (IFRS 15);
– Leases (IFRS 16);
– Financial instruments (IFRS 9); or
– Amendments to Presentation of Financial Statements (IAS 1).
- Responding to enquiry letters following the regulator’s review of the company’s continuous disclosures.
- Conversions to IFRS from private Canadian GAAP (ASPE) or the accounting framework in the company’s jurisdiction.
- Consultation in applying a financial reporting standard, such as judgements and estimates and accounting for complex transactions or events.
4. Knowledge transfer
See items 2 and 3 on the knowledge transfer section for preparers and audit committees.