Earlier this year, we explored the significant changes facing the auditing profession as a result of major revisions to ISA 315. In this update on ISA 315 revised, Barbara Sims, Audit Director at PKF Smith Cooper, reflects on the implementation and impact of these changes across our audit division.

Implementing changes to our audit process as a result of ISA 315 revised was a firm-wide challenge. It involved a significant amount of upskilling in a period where guidance surrounding the updated legislation was relatively limited, with no real-life case studies to draw upon. At PKF Smith Cooper, we made sure we were fully prepared by focusing our efforts on three key areas: 

  • Internal training – making sure every member of our audit division was well-versed on the ISA 315 revised and capable of navigating the changes to the auditing process 
  • Client engagement – keeping our clients informed of the changes 
  • Continual improvement – continually adapting and building on our approach by learning from real audit cases 

Internal training

We dedicated substantial time and effort to ensuring all our auditors had sufficient knowledge to tackle the audit season ahead, with on hand support from senior team members to manage any difficulties as they arose. With changes and updated guidance being released regularly, it was important to keep the team up to date. 

As a result of our audit team’s engagement, dynamic attitude and desire to want to do the best for clients, we were able to tweak and change our approach as and when needed. I have been really impressed with the team’s engagement throughout this challenging period – they have shown real resilience to keep going! 

Client engagement

Our aim from the start was to limit the impact on our clients as much as possible, but obviously additional audit work was required from previous years. We had early conversations with our clients, setting out the changes and new expectations relating to ISA 315 revised to ensure the audit process ran as smoothly as possible.  

Our clients have adapted and supported us along the way, working collaboratively with our auditors. We will look to build on this with our clients, current and new, working together to adapt our approach to meet the needs of each organisation.  

Ongoing and collaborative engagement with our clients is critical to ensure we can provide a compliant audit, but also add value to their businesses.   

Continual improvement

Reflecting on the last 12 months and moving into the next phase of implementation, we now want to learn through those real-life case studies and improve our audit processes. We look to achieve audit efficiencies by honing our approach in certain areas.  

With our next round of training, we will be looking to refresh the team on the key concepts and provide some real-life examples to learn and adapt from both our own experiences but also from guidance provided by our regulators.  

Next steps for audit development

The next (and most exciting) stage of the firm’s audit development involves the introduction of data analytics into our audit processes. Watch this space!  

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