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Objective

Consider changes to the confirmation process, including how AS 2310, The Confirmation Process, should be revised to reflect changes in technology, as well as to align more closely with the PCAOB's risk assessment standards.

Most Recent Action

On December 20, 2022, the Board voted to issue for public comment a proposal for a new standard, AS 2310, The Auditor’s Use of Confirmation, together with conforming amendments to PCAOB auditing standards. The comment period is open through February 20, 2023.

In brief, the Board’s proposal would:

  • Include more principles-based requirements that are designed to apply to all methods of confirmation, including the use of electronic communications and third-party intermediaries.
  • Expressly integrate the requirements for the auditor’s use of confirmation with the requirements of the Board’s risk assessment standards by incorporating certain risk-based considerations and emphasizing the auditor’s responsibility to obtain relevant and reliable audit evidence when using confirmation in an audit.
  • Include a new requirement regarding confirming cash held by third parties.
  • Carry forward the existing requirement regarding confirming accounts receivable and address when the presumption to confirm accounts receivable may be overcome.
  • Reflect the relatively insignificant amount of audit evidence obtained when using negative confirmation requests.
  • Provide more specific direction where the auditor is unable to obtain relevant and reliable audit evidence through confirmation.
  • Specify activities in the confirmation process for which the auditor may not use internal auditors to provide direct assistance.
  • Make conforming amendments to other related PCAOB auditing standards.

Additional information on the proposal:

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Background

AS 2310 establishes requirements for the auditor’s use of confirmation in an audit, including requirements for designing, performing, and evaluating the results of confirmation procedures. While the standard has remained largely unchanged since its adoption by the Board as an interim standard in 2003, the following developments have taken place:

  • Changes in technology: Auditors are now utilizing various methods to send and receive confirmations, including the increasing use of electronic communications and third-party intermediaries; and
  • Adoption of the Board's risk assessment standards: AS 2310 predates the adoption of the Board's risk assessment standards.

The Board’s proposal took into account observations from the Board's oversight activities, audit firms' methodologies, academic research, the activities of other standard setters and regulators, and information from investors and other stakeholders. The proposal was also informed by the Board's 2009 Concept Release and the subsequent 2010 Proposed Standard related to confirmation, as well as the comment letters received thereon.

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Status

The Board issued a proposal for public comment on December 20, 2022.