The ICAI has issued clarification on compliance with Para 61/ 62 of SRE 2410 as to whether the auditor should ensure that the review results were published by the management along with the review report, as under:
1. The Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, at its 308th meeting, considered an issue relating to difficulties being faced by the members of the Institute in compliance with paragraphs 61 and 62 of the SRE 2410, Review of Interim Financial Information Performed by the Independent Auditor of the Entity, raised by the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board of the Institute.
2. The Council noted that paragraphs 61 and 62 of SRE 2410 require as under:
“61. The terms of the engagement include management’s agreement that where any document containing interim financial information indicates that such information has been reviewed by the entity’s auditor, the review report will also be included in the document. If management has not included the review report in the document, the auditor considers seeking legal advice to assist in determining the appropriate course of action in the circumstances.”
“62. If the auditor has issued a modified review report and management issues the interim financial information without including the modified review report in the document containing the interim financial information, the auditor considers seeking legal advice to assist in determining the appropriate course of action in the circumstances, and the possibility of resigning from the appointment to audit the annual financial statements.”
3. The Council noted that a number of entities were publishing interim financial results with a declaration that the “results have been approved by the Board of Directors at its meeting held on … and have been subjected to limited review by the statutory auditors.” The companies, however, were not publishing the review report along with such published results.
Accordingly, it was either that the auditors had not obtained an agreement with the management that they would publish the review report along with the reviewed results or that despite the said agreement, the management had not complied therewith. The Council noted that in the latter cases, the auditor would be penalised under the requirements of SRE 2410 even when the default/ breach had been committed by the management.
4. The Council was of the view that it is not practically feasible for the auditor to ensure that every document released by the management containing the interim financial information indicating that such information has been reviewed by the entity’s auditor, the review report has been included in the said document.
5. On a consideration of the matter, the Council is of the opinion that paragraphs 61 and 62 did not envisage the auditor to take steps to ensure that on every occasion when the review results were published by the management, it also published the review report therewith.
The responsibility of the auditor was upto issuance of the review report on the results, at most till the time the interim results, along with the review report, were filed by the company with the concerned stock exchange. Further, since such filing led to the concerned interim results and the review report thereon becoming available in the public domain, the same would be construed as sufficient compliance by the auditor with the requirements of paragraphs 61 and 62 of SRE 2410.
6. The Council, however, felt that if, subsequent to the issuance of the review report, the auditor became aware of situations where the management had not published the review report especially where the review report contained auditor’s reservations, he would need to bring the same to the attention of the management and, if considered necessary, take legal advice.