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Impact of Technology on Auditor Independence

Introduction

The IESBA's Technology Task Force Seeks Your View About the Impact of Technology on Independence Matters

The IESBA’s Technology Task Force (TTF) is considering revisions to the IESBA Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) (the Code) to respond to the transformative effects of technology.  The Project Proposal was informed by the December 2019 IESBA Technology Working Group Phase 1, Final Report which set out seven recommendations, including specific areas for enhancements to the Code.    

The purpose of this survey is to solicit input in relation to Recommendation 7 of the Final Report relating to Independence with a view to strengthening Part 4A of the Code, to:
  • Consider whether certain provisions in Part 4A, such as those in Section 520 (Business Relationships) should be revised to address the threats to independence created by the sale or licensing of technology to audit clients and the use of an audit client’s technology tool in the delivery of non-assurance services (NAS) to another entity.
  • Revise Section 600, particularly Subsection 606 (Information Technology Systems Services), with respect to the provision of technology-related NAS. Consideration will need to be given to the revised principles addressing the permissibility of NAS and related provisions when finalized under the NAS project, as well as broader relevant feedback received on the NAS Exposure Draft.
The TTF is seeking information about how the extant Code is applied to help progress the IESBA’s technology project. The survey refers to the extant Code. Any potential refinements to the Code, to include technology related matters, will need to be made to the final revised NAS text, expected to be approved by the IESBA in December 2020.

In particular, the IESBA is seeking your views on how the provision of technology-related non-assurance services and the sale or licensing of technology to audit clients could threaten independence and where such products and services fit within the Code. Additional reference material can be found on the Technology project page.

The survey is structured around this diagram which summarises the Task Force’s thinking. You may find it helpful to keep it handy as you respond to the survey.

Because the stages of implementation of the Code may vary by jurisdiction, the survey is designed to allow respondents to respond based on their circumstances and experience.

All responses to this survey, whether complete or partial, once submitted will be accepted and considered as input for the work of the Technology Task Force. The responses received will be summarized (in various ways, including, for example per stakeholder group) for purposes of progressing the IESBA’s technology project, including considering changes to the Code to refine the finalized NAS text to include technology related matters, and development of non-authoritative material. There will be no attribution of responses to any individual respondent.

Completed questionnaires are requested by 10 November 2020 

Please contact Kam Leung (KamLeung@ethicsboard.org) for any questions.