The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA, the Ethics Board) today released final changes to the definition of “those charged with governance” in its Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (the Code).
The changes are intended to more closely align the definition of “those charged with governance” in the Code with that in the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB)’s International Standard on Auditing (ISA) 260, Communication with Those Charged with Governance, thereby eliminating any potential confusion. The Ethics Board does not expect any changes will be necessary to accounting firms’ systems and methodologies or common practice.
The changes clarify that a subgroup of those charged with governance of an entity, such as an audit committee, may assist the governing body in meeting its responsibilities. In those cases, if a professional accountant or firm communicates with such a subgroup, the Code requires the professional accountant or firm to determine whether communication with all of those charged with governance is also necessary so that they are adequately informed.
“The changes to the definition reflect the Ethics Board’s ongoing commitment to eliminate unnecessary differences with the IAASB’s standards, which serves to enhance our shared stakeholders’ understanding of our standards and guidance,” said Jörgen Holmquist, chair of the IESBA. “Furthermore, by clarifying the definition, the Ethics Board aims to promote more consistent application of the Code, which is critical to its mission to ultimately foster a consistent and high level of ethical behavior by professional accountants around the world.”
As with all revisions to the Code, the changes have been approved following confirmation by the Public Interest Oversight Board that due process in developing the changes was followed. The changes, effective on July 1, 2014, will be printed in the 2014 Handbook of the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants. The 2013 Handbook is currently available to download or purchase.