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The AUASB continued to collaborate with international constituents and broaden our international profile, through public forums with the IAASB Chair, Tom Seidenstein, about the IAASB’s priorities and challenges, webinars with the New Zealand Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (NZAuASB) about the IAASB’s proposed scope for revising ISA 500 Audit Evidence, as well as ISA 600 Special Considerations—Audits of Group Financial Statements—a triple effort by the AUASB, NZAuASB, and the IAASB.

Our stakeholder outreach activities with regards to proposed IAASB standards have helped inform the IAASB of Australia’s position, and by consequence, help shape the final editions as we move towards one global set of auditing standards. Our close relationship with the IAASB, which has been enhanced since I became a member, has allowed a consistent, open dialogue to take place between the two entities. Moving forward, the AUASB aims to work more closely with the IAASB and help bolster our reputation as a world-leading auditing and assurance standards setter.

We also continued to build our international influence by working with other National Auditing and Assurance Standards Setters (NAASS), especially New Zealand and Canada, to work cooperatively and collaboratively on issues addressing our respective constituencies. This has resulted in, for example, the update of Auditing Standard on Review Engagements ASRE 2410 Review of a Financial Report Performed by the Independent Auditor of the Entity, with New Zealand, and the issuing of Guidance Statement GS 005, taking into account the expert feedback from the various jurisdictions. The benefits of working collaboratively and leveraging off the expertise and activities of the NAASS was also identified by the IAASB, which put together a coalition of NAASS to support and share experiences around their COVID-19 initiatives.

Last but no means least, the AUASB submitted its response on the IAASB’s Exposure Drafts (ED) for Quality Management at the Firm and Engagement Level, including Engagement Quality Reviews. Whilst supportive of the overall concepts in the EDs, the AUASB noted with concern that the IAASB’s EDs contained greater complexity and detail than the extant standards they are replacing. This made the proposed standards more challenging for auditors to apply, and may result in increased costs with arguably no commensurate increase in the level of audit quality for auditors of all types of entities.