ASB to Vote on Effective Date Deferral

The AICPA’s Accounting Standards Board (ASB) will meet by teleconference on Monday, April 20, 2020 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. (EDT).

As the sole item on the agenda, the ASB will discuss and vote to ballot to issue as a final standard Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 141, Amendment to the Effective Date of SAS Nos. 134 Through 140.

Recent Auditor Reporting Standards

In background, the ASB agenda discussion paper discusses the recently issued auditor reporting standards that have effective dates for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2020. These include:

  • SAS 134, Auditor Reporting and Amendments, Including Amendments Addressing Disclosures in the Audit of Financial Statements, as amended;
  • SAS 135, Omnibus Statement on Auditing Standards—2019;
  • SAS 136, Forming an Opinion and Reporting on Financial Statements of Employee Benefit Plans Subject to ERISA, as amended;
  • SAS 137, The Auditor’s Responsibilities Relating to Other Information Included in Annual Reports;
  • SAS 138, Amendments to the Description of the Concept of Materiality;
  • SAS 139, Amendments to AU-C Sections 800, 805, and 810 to Incorporate Auditor Reporting Changes From SAS No. 134; and
  • SAS 140, Amendments to AU-C Sections 725, 730, 930, 935, and 940 to Incorporate Auditor Reporting Changes From SAS Nos. 134 and 137.

Further, SAS 134 and SAS 136 – 140 do not permit early implementation.

ASB Proposal to Defer Effective Dates

The ASB is proposing a one-year deferral of the effective dates of recently adopted auditing standards.  due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As noted in the agenda discussion, the ASB has heard from firms that regardless of when the pandemic “is declared over or social distancing restrictions are lifted, small and mid-sized firms are expected to struggle for some time with meeting payroll, layoffs, paying bills, collecting invoices, losing portions of their client base whose business simply no longer exists, keeping up with training requirements, and so on as they are small businesses in their own right.”

Given these circumstances, the ASB believes that deferring these significant standards would provide needed relief to the small firms. 

Effective Date Change

Instead of the current effective date for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2020, SAS 134 through SAS 140 would be effective for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2021.

In addition, SAS 141 would provide for early implementation of the standards to permit firms to proceed if they are able to do so. The meeting will be open to observers, who must register for the call. The week of the meeting, the ASB will send dial in information to those who register.

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