Sa 570 (Revised) Going Concern

Introduction

Scope of this SA

1. This Standard on Auditing (SA) deals with the auditor’s responsibility in the audit of financial statements with respect to management’s use of the going concern assumption in the preparation and presentation of the financial statements.

Going Concern Assumption

2. Under the going concern assumption, an entity is viewed as continuing in business for the foreseeable future. General purpose financial statements are prepared on a going concern basis, unless management either intends to liquidate the entity or to cease operations, or has no realistic alternative but to do so. Special purpose financial statements3 may or may not be prepared in accordance with a financial reporting framework4 for which the going concern basis is relevant. When the use of the going concern assumption is appropriate, assets and liabilities are recorded on the basis that the entity will be able to realise its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business. (Ref: Para. A1)

Responsibilities of Management

3. Some financial reporting frameworks contain an explicit requirement for management to make a specific assessment of the entity’s ability to continue a i a going concern, and standards regarding matters to be considered and disclosures to be made in connection with going concern. The financial reporting framework may require the management to make an assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern and prepare the financial statements on a going concern basis unless the management intends to liquidate the entity or cease operations, or has no realistic alternative but to do so. In case the financial statements have not been prepared on a going concern basis, the fact would need to be appropriately disclosed, together with the basis on which the financial statements are prepared and the reason why the entity is not regarded as a going concern5. The detailed requirements regarding management’s responsibility to assess the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern and related financial statement disclosures may also be set out in law or regulation.

4. In other financial reporting frameworks, there may be no explicit requirement for management to make a specific assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. Nevertheless, since the going concern assumption is a fundamental principle in the preparation of financial statements as discussed in paragraph 2, management’s responsibility for the preparation and presentation of the financial statements includes a responsibility to assess the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern even if the financial reporting framework does not include an explicit requirement to do so.

5. Management’s assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern involves making a judgment, at a particular point in time, about inherently uncertain future outcomes of events or conditions. The following factors are relevant to that judgment:

  • The degree of uncertainty associated with the outcome of an event or condition increases significantly the further into the future an event or condition or the outcome occurs. For that reason, financial reporting frameworks normally require an explicit management assessment specify the period for which management is required to take into account all available information.
  • The size and complexity of the entity, the nature and condition of its business and the degree to which it is affected by external factors affect the judgment regarding the outcome of events or conditions.
  • Any judgment about the future is based on information available at the time at which the judgment is made. Subsequent events may result in outcomes that are inconsistent with judgments that were reasonable at the time they were made.

Responsibilities of the Auditor

6. The auditor’s responsibility is to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence about the appropriateness of management’s use of the going concern assumption in the preparation and presentation of the financial statements and to conclude whether there is a material uncertainty about the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. This responsibility exists even if the financial reporting framework used in the preparation of the financial statements does not include an explicit requirement for management to make a specific assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.

7. However, as described in SA 200,6 the potential effects of inherent limitations on the auditor’s ability to detect material misstatements are greater for future events or conditions that may cause an entity to cease to continue as a going concern. The auditor cannot predict such future events or conditions. Accordingly, the absence of any reference to going concern uncertainty in an auditor’s report cannot be viewed as a guarantee as to the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.

Effective Date

8. This SA is effective for audits of financial statements for periods beginning on or after April 1, 2009.

Objectives

9. The objectives of the auditor are:

(a) To obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence about the appropriateness of managements use of the going concern assumption in the preparation and presentation of the financial statements;

(b) To conclude, based on the audit evidence obtained, whether a material uncertainty exists related to events or conditions that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern; and

(c) To determine the implications for the auditor’s report.

Requirements

Risk Assessment Procedures and Related Activities

10. When performing risk assessment procedures as required by SA 315,7 the auditor shall consider whether there are events or conditions that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. In so doing, the auditor shall determine whether management has already performed a preliminary assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, and: (Ref: Para. A2-A5)

(a) If such an assessment has performed, the auditors discuss the assessment with management and determine whether management has identified events or conditions that, individually or collectively, may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern and, if so, management’s plans to address them; or

(b) If such an assessment has not yet been performed, the auditor shall discuss with management the basis for the intended use of the going concern assumption, and inquire of management whether events or conditions exist that, individually or collectively, may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.

11. The auditor shall remain alert throughout the audit for audit evidence of events or conditions that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. (Ref: Para. A6)

Evaluating Management’s Assessment

12. The auditor shall evaluate management’s assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. (Ref: Para. A7-A9; A11-A12)

13. In evaluating management’s assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, the auditor shall cover the same period as that used by management to make its assessment as required by the applicable financial reporting framework, or by law or regulation if it specifies a longer period. If management’s assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern covers less than twelve months from the date of the financial statements as defined in SA 560,8 the auditor shall request management to extend its assessment period to at least twelve months from that date. (Ref: Para. A10-A12)

14. In evaluating management’s assessment, the auditor shall consider whether management’s assessment includes all relevant information of which the auditor is aware as a result of the audit.

Period Beyond Management’s Assessment

15. The auditor shall inquire of management as to its knowledge of events or conditions beyond the period of management’s assessment that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. (Ref: Para. A13-A14)

Additional Audit Procedures When Events or Conditions Are Identified

16. When events or conditions have been identified that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, the auditor shall obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to determine whether or not a material uncertainty exists through performing additional audit procedures, including consideration of mitigating factors. These procedures shall include: (Ref Para. A15)

(a) When management has not yet performed an assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, requesting management to make its assessment.

(b) Evaluating management’s plans for future actions in relation to its going concern assessment whether the outcome of these plans is likely to improve the situation and whether management’s plans are feasible in the circumstances. (Ref: Para. A16)

(c) When the entity has prepared a cash flow forecast, and analysis of the forecast is a significant factor in considering the future outcome of events or conditions in the evaluation of management’s plans for future action: (Ref: Para. A17-A18)

  1. Evaluating the reliability of the underlying data generated to prepare the forecast; and
  2. Determining whether there is adequate support for the assumptions underlying the forecast.

(d) Considering whether any additional facts or information have become available since the date on which management made its assessment.

(e) Requesting written representations from management or, where appropriate, those charged with governance, regarding their plans for future action and the feasibility of these plans.

Audit Conclusions and Reporting

17. Based on the audit evidence obtained, the auditor shall conclude whether, in the auditor’s judgment, a material uncertainty exists related to events or conditions that, individually or collectively, may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. A material uncertainty exists when the magnitude of its potential impact and likelihood of occurrence is such that, in the auditor’s judgment, appropriate disclosure of the nature and implications of the uncertainty is necessary for:

(a) In the case of a fair presentation financial reporting framework, the fair presentation of the financial statements, or

(b) In the case of a compliance framework, the financial statements not to be misleading. (Ref: Para. A19)

Use of Going Concern Assumption Appropriate but a Material Uncertainty Exists

18. When the auditor concludes that the use of the going concern assumption is appropriate in the circumstances but a material uncertainty exists, the auditor shall determine whether the financial statements:

(a) Adequately describe the principal events or conditions that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern and management’s plans to deal with these events or conditions; and

(b) Disclose clearly that there is a material uncertainty related to events or conditions that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern and, therefore, that it may be unable to realise its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business. (Ref: Para. A20)

19. If adequate disclosure is made in the financial statements, the auditor shall express an unmodified opinion and include an Emphasis of Matter paragraph in the auditor’s report to:

(a) Highlight the existence of a material uncertainty relating to the event or condition that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern; and to

(b) Draw attention to the note in the financial statements that discloses the matters set out in paragraph 18. (See SA 7069) (Ref: Para. A21-A22)

20. If adequate disclosure is not made in the financial statements, the auditor shall express a qualified or adverse opinion, as appropriate (See SA 70510). The auditor shall state in the auditor’s report that there is a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt about the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. (Ref: Para. A23-A24)

Use of Going Concern Assumption Inappropriate

21. If the financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis but, in the auditor’s judgment, management’s use of the going concern assumption in the financial statements is inappropriate, the auditor shall express an adverse opinion. (Ref: Para. A25-A26)

Management Unwilling to Make or Extend Its Assessment

22. If management is unwilling to make or extend its assessment when requested to do so by the auditor, the auditor shall consider the implications for the auditor’s report. (Ref: Para. A27)

Communication with Those Charged with Governance

23. Unless all those charged with governance are involved in managing the entity, the auditor shall communicate with those charged with governance events or conditions identified that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. Such communication with those charged with governance shall include the following:

(a) Whether the events or conditions constitute a material uncertainty;

(b) Whether the use of the going concern assumption is appropriate in the preparation and presentation of the financial statements; and

(c) The adequacy of related disclosures in the financial statements.

Significant Delay in the Approval of Financial Statements

24. When there is significant delay in the approval of the financial statements by management or those charged with governance after the date of the financial statements, the auditor shall inquire as to the reasons for the delay. When the auditor believes that the delay could be related to events or conditions relating to the going concern assessment, the auditor shall perform those additional audit procedures necessary, as described in paragraph 16, as well as consider the effect on the auditor’s conclusion regarding the existence of a material uncertainty, as described in paragraph 17.

Application and Other Explanatory Material

Introduction

Going Concern Assumption (Ref: Para. 2)

A1. In some enterprises, for example, those where the funding arrangements are guaranteed by the Central Government, going concern risks may arise, but are not limited to, situations where such type of entities operate on a for-profit basis, where government support may be reduced or withdrawn, or in the case of privatisation. Events or conditions that may cast significant doubt on an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern may include situations where such type of entity lacks funding for its continued existence or when policy decisions are made that affect the services provided by such an entity.

Risk Assessment Procedures and Related Activities

Events or Conditions That May Cast Doubt about Going Concern Assumption (Ref: Para. 10)

A2. The following are examples of events or conditions that, individually or collectively, may cast significant doubt about the going concern assumption. This listing is not all inclusive nor does the existence of one or more of the items always signify that a material uncertainty exists.

Financial

  • Net liability or net current liability position.
  • Fixed term borrowings approaching maturity without realistic prospects of renewal or repayment; or excessive reliance on short term borrowings o finance long term assets.
  • Indications of withdrawal of financial support by creditors.
  • Negative operating cash flows indicated by historical or prospective financial statements.
  • Adverse key financial ratios.
  • Substantial operating losses or significant deterioration in the value of assets used to generate cash flows.
  • Arrears or discontinuance of dividends.
  • Inability to pay creditors on due dates.
  • Inability to comply with the terms of loan agreements.
  • Change from credit to delivery transactions with pliers.
  • Inability to obtain financing essential new product development or other essential investments.

Operating

  • Management intentions to liquidate the entity or to cease operations.
  • Loss of key management without replacement.
  • Loss of a major market, key customer(s), franchise, license or principal supplier(s).
  • Labour difficulties.
  • Shortages of important supplies.
  • Emergence of a highly successful competitor.

Other

  • Non-compliance with capital or other statutory requirements.
  • Pending legal or regulatory proceedings against the entity that may, if successful, result in claims that the entity is unlikely to be able to satisfy.
  • Changes in law or regulation or government policy expected to adversely affect the entity.
  • Uninsured or underinsured catastrophes when they occur.

The significance of such events or conditions often can be mitigated by other factors. For example, the effect of an entity being unable to make its normal debt repayments may be counter balanced by management’s plans to maintain adequate cash flows by alternative means, such as by disposing of assets, rescheduling loan repayments, or obtaining additional capital Similarly, the loss of a principal supplier may be mitigated by the availability of a suitable alternative source of supply.

A3. The risk assessment procedures required by paragraph 10 help the auditor to determine whether management’s use of the going concern assumption is likely to be an important issue and its impact on planning the audit. These procedures also allow for more timely discussions with management, including a discussion of management’s plans and resolution of any identified going concern issues.

Considerations Specific to Smaller Entities

A4. The size of an entity may affect its ability to withstand adverse conditions. Small entities may be able to respond quickly to exploit opportunities, but may lack reserves to sustain operations.

A5. Conditions of particular relevance to small entities include the risk that banks and other lenders may cease to support the entity, as well as the possible loss of a principal supplier, major customer, key employee, or the right to operate under a license, franchise or other legal agreement.

Remaining Alert throughout the Audit for Audit Evidence about Events or Conditions(Ref: Para. 11)

A6. SA 315 requires the auditor to revise the auditor’s risk assessment and modify the further planned audit procedures accordingly when additional audit evidence is obtained during the course of the audit that affects the auditor’s assessment of risk.11 If events or conditions that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern are identified after the auditor’s risk assessments are made, in addition to performing the procedures in paragraph 16, the auditor’s assessment of the risks of material misstatement may need to be revised. The existence of such events or conditions may also affect the nature, timing and extent of the auditor’s further procedures in response to the assessed risks. SA 33012 establishes requirements and provides guidance on this issue.

Evaluating Management’s Assessment

Management’s Assessment and Supporting Analysis and the Auditor’s Evaluation(Ref: Para. 12)

A7. Management’s assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern is a key part of the auditor’s consideration of management’s use of the going concern assumption.

A8. It is not the auditor’s responsibility to rectify the lack of analysis by management. In some circumstances, however, the lack of detailed analysis by management to support its assessment may not prevent the auditor from concluding whether management’s use of the going concern assumption is appropriate in the circumstances. For example, when there is a history of profitable operations and a ready access to financial resources, management ma~ make its assessment without detailed analysis. In this case, the auditor’s evaluation of the appropriateness of management’s assessment may be made without performing detailed evaluation procedures if the auditor’s other audit procedures are sufficient to enable the auditor to conclude whether management’s use of the going concern assumption in the preparation of the financial statements is appropriate in the circumstances.

A9. In other circumstances, evaluating management’s assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, as required by paragraph 12, may include an evaluation of the process management followed to make its assessment, the assumptions on which vie assessment is based and management’s plans for future action and whether management’s plans are feasible in the circumstances.

The Period of Management’s Assessment (Ref: Para. 13)

A10. Most financial reporting frameworks requiring an explicit management assessment specify the period for which management is required to take into account all available information.

Considerations Specific to Smaller Entities (Ref: Para. 12-13)

A11. In many cases, the management of smaller entities may not have prepared a detailed assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, but instead may rely on in-depth knowledge of the business and anticipated future prospects. Nevertheless. in accordance with the requirements of this SA, the auditor needs to evaluate management’s assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. For smaller entities, it may be appropriate to discuss the medium and long term financing of the entity with management, provided that management’s contentions can be corroborated by sufficient documentary evidence and are not inconsistent with the auditor’s understanding of the entity. Therefore, the requirement in paragraph 13 for the auditor to request management to extend its assessment may, for example, be satisfied by discussion, inquiry and inspection of supporting documentation, for example, orders received for future supply, evaluated as to their feasibility or otherwise substantiated.

A12. Continued support by owner-managers is often important to smaller entities’ ability to continue as a going concern. Where a small entity is largely financed by a loan from the owner manager, it may be important that these funds are not withdrawn. For example, the continuance of a small entity in financial difficulty may be dependent on the owner manager subordinating a loan to the entity in favour of banks or other creditors, or the owner manager supporting a loan for the entity by providing a guarantee with his or her personal assets as collateral. In such circumstances the auditor may obtain appropriate documentary evidence of the subordination of the owner manager’s loan or of the guarantee. Where an entity is dependent on additional support from the owner manager, the auditor may evaluate the owner manager’s ability to meet the obligation under the support arrangement. In addition, the auditor may request written confirmation of the terms and conditions attaching to such support and the owner manager’s intention or understanding.

Period Beyond Management’s Assessment (Ref: Para. 15)

A13. As required by paragraph 11, the auditor remains alert to the possibility that there may be known events, scheduled or otherwise, or conditions that will occur beyond the period of assessment used by management that may bring into question the appropriateness of management’s use of the going concern assumption in preparing the financial statements. Since the degree of uncertainty associated with the outcome of an event or condition increases as the event or condition is further into the future, in considering events or conditions further in the future, the indications of going concern issues need to be significant before the auditor needs to consider taking further action. If such events or conditions are identified, the auditor may need to request management to evaluate the potential significance of the event or condition on its assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. In these circumstances the procedures in paragraph 16 apply.

A14. Other than inquiry of management, the auditor does not have a responsibility to perform any other audit procedures to identify events or conditions that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern beyond the period assessed by management, which, as discussed in paragraph 13, would be at least twelve months from the date of the financial statements.

Additional Audit Procedures When Events or Conditions Are Identified (Ref: Para. 16)

A15. Audit procedures that are relevant to the requirement in paragraph 16 may include the following:

  • Analysing and discussing cash flow, profit and other relevant forecasts with management.
  • Analysing and discussing the entity’s latest available interim financial statements.
  • Reading the terms of debentures and loan agreements and determining whether any have been breached.
  • Reading minutes of the meetings of shareholders, those charged with governance and relevant committees for reference to financing difficulties.
  • Inquiring of the entity’s legal counsel regarding the existence of litigation and claims and the reasonableness of management’s assessments of their outcome and the estimate of their financial implications.
  • Confirming the existence, legality and enforceability of arrangements to provide or maintain financial support with related and third parties and assessing the financial ability of such parties to provide additional funds,
    Evaluating the entity’s plans to deal with unfilled customer orders.
  • Performing audit procedures regarding subsequent events to identify those that either mitigate or otherwise affect the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.
  • Confirming the existence, terms and adequacy of borrowing facilities.
  • Obtaining and reviewing reports of regulatory actions.
  • Determining the adequacy of support for any planned disposals of assets.

Evaluating Management’s Plans for Future Actions (Ref: Para. 16(b))

A16. Evaluating management’s plans for future actions may include inquiries of management as to its plans for future action, including, for example, its plans to liquidate assets, borrow money or restructure debt, reduce or delay expenditures, or increase capital.

The Period of Management’s Assessment (Ref: Para. 16(c))

A17. In addition to the procedures required in paragraph 16(c), the auditor may compare:

  • The prospective financial information for recent prior periods with historical results; and
  • The prospective financial information for the current period with results achieved to date

A18. Where management’s assumptions include continued support by third parties, whether through the subordination of loans, commitments to maintain or provide additional funding, or guarantees, and such support is important to an entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, the auditor may need to consider requesting written confirmation (including of terms and conditions) from those third parties and to obtain evidence of their ability to provide such support.

Audit Conclusions and Reporting (Ref Para. 17)

A19. The phrase “material uncertainty” means the uncertainties related to events or conditions which may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern that should be disclosed in the financial statements. In some other financial reporting frameworks the phrase “significant uncertainty” is used in similar circumstances.

Use of Going Concern Assumption Appropriate but a Material Uncertainty Exists

Adequacy of Disclosure of Material Uncertainty (Ref: Para. 18)

A20. The determination of the adequacy of the financial statement disclosure may involve determining whether the information explicitly draws the reader’s attention to the possibility that the entity may be unable to continue realising its assets and discharging its liabilities in the normal course of business.

Audit Reporting When Disclosure of Material Uncertainty Is Adequate (Ref: Para. 19)

A21. The following is an illustration of an Emphasis of Matter paragraph when the auditor is satisfied as to the adequacy of the note disclosure:

Emphasis of Matter

Without qualifying our opinion, we draw attention to Note X in the financial statements which indicates that the Company incurred a net loss of ZZZ during the year ended March 31, 20X1 and, as of that date, the Company’s current liabilities exceeded its total assets by YYY. These conditions, along with other matters as set forth in Note X, indicate the existence of a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.

A22. In situations involving multiple material uncertainties that are significant to the financial statements as a whole, the auditor may consider it appropriate in extremely rare cases to express a disclaimer of opinion instead of adding an Emphasis of Matter paragraph. SA 70513 provides guidance on this issue.

Audit Reporting When Disclosure of Material Uncertainty Is Inadequate (Ref: Para. 20)

A23. The following is an illustration of the relevant paragraphs when a qualified opinion is to be expressed:

Basis for Qualified Opinion

The Company’s financing arrangements expire and amounts outstanding are payable on May 19, 20X1. The Company has been unable to re negotiate or obtain replacement financing. This situation indicates the existence of a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt on the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern and therefore the Company may be unable to realize its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business. The financial statements (and notes thereto) do not fully disclose this fact.

Qualified Opinion

In our opinion, except for the incomplete disclosure of the information referred to in the Basis for Qualified Opinion paragraph, the financial statements give the information required by the Companies Act, 1956, in the manner so required and give a true and fair view in conformity with the accounting principles generally accepted in India:

(a) in the case of the Balance Sheet, of the state of affairs of the company as at March 31, 20X1;

(b) in the case of the Profit and Loss Account, of the profit/ loss for the year ended on that date; and

(c) in the case of the cash flow statement, of the cash flows for the year ended on that date.

A24. The following is an illustration of the relevant paragraphs when an adverse opinion is to be expressed:

Basis for Adverse Opinion

The Company’s financing arrangements expired and the amount outstanding was payable on March 31, 20X0. The Company has been unable to re negotiate or obtain replacement financing and is considering filing for bankruptcy. These events indicate a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt on the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern and therefore it may be unable to realise its assets and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business. The financial statements (and notes thereto) do not disclose this fact.

Adverse Opinion

In our opinion, because of the omission of the information mentioned in the Basis for Adverse Opinion paragraph, the financial statements do not give the information required by the Companies Act, 1956, in the manner so required and also do not give a true and fair view in conformity with the accounting principles generally accepted in India:

(a) in the case of the Balance Sheet, of the state of affairs of the company as at March 31, 20XO; and

(b) in the case of the Profit and Loss Account, of the profit/ loss for the year ended on that date; and

(c) in the case of the cash flow statement, of the cash flows for the year ended on that date.

Use of Going Concern Assumption Inappropriate (Ref: Para. 21)

A25. If the financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis, but, in the auditor’s judgment, management’s use of the going concern assumption in the financial statements is inappropriate, the requirement of paragraph 21 for the auditor to express an adverse opinion applies regardless of whether or not the financial statements include disclosure of the inappropriateness of management’s use of the going concern assumption,

A26. If the entity’s management is required, or elects, to prepare financial statements when the use of the going concern assumption is not appropriate in the circumstances, the financial statements are prepared on an alternative basis (e.g., liquidation basis). The auditor may be able to perform an audit of those financial statements provided that the auditor determines that the alternative basis is an acceptable financial reporting framework in the circumstances. The auditor may be able to express an unmodified opinion on those financial statements, provided there is adequate disclosure therein but may consider it appropriate or necessary to include an Emphasis of Matter paragraph in the auditor’s report to draw the user’s attention to that alternative basis and the reasons for its use.

Management Unwilling to Make or Extend Its Assessment (Ref: Para. 22)

A27. In certain circumstances, the auditor may believe it necessary to request management to make or extend its assessment. If management is unwilling to do so, a qualified opinion or a disclaimer of opinion in the auditor’s report may be appropriate, because it may not be possible for the auditor to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence regarding the use of the going concern assumption in the preparation of the financial statements, such as audit evidence regarding the existence of plans management has put in place or the existence of other mitigating factors.

Material Modifications to ISA 570, “Going Concern”

Addition

1. In Paragraph 3, the responsibilities of management to make an assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern have been made more country specific.

Deletion

1. Paragraph A1 of the Application Section of ISA 570 deals with the application of the requirements of ISA 570 to the audits of public sector entities in the context of going concern risks that may arise, but are not limited to, situations where public sector entities operate on a for profit basis, where government support may be reduced or withdrawn, or in the case of privatisation. Since as mentioned in the “Preface to the Standards on Quality Control, Auditing, Review, Other Assurance and Related Services”, the Standards issued by the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board apply equally to all entities, irrespective of their form, nature and size, a specific reference to applicability of the Standard to public sector entities has been deleted.

Further, it is also possible that such a situation may arise in the case of nonpublic sector enterprise. Accordingly, the spirit of erstwhile Al, highlighting the appropriateness of the going concern assumption in the preparation of the financial statements where the funding arrangements are guaranteed by the Central Government has been retained.


1 Hitherto known as SA 570 (AAS 16), “Going Concern”.

2 Published in the July, 2007 issue of the Journal.

3 Financial Statements prepared and presented in accordance with a financial reporting framework designed to meet the financial information needs of specific users are referred to as special purpose financial statements. Examples of special purpose financial statements include:
(i) financial statements which are prepared in addition to general purpose financial statements;
(ii) financial statements prepared in compliance with requirements of a iy agreement or statute or regulation; or
(iii) financial information given in special purpose formats or schedules.

4 ISA 200, “Overall Objectives of the Independent Auditor and the Conduct of an Audit in Accordance with International Standards on Auditing” defines the term, ‘Applicable financial reporting framework’ as follows: “The financial reporting framework adopted by management and, where appropriate, those charged with governance in the preparation and presentation of the financial statements that is acceptable in view of the nature of the entity and the objectives of the financial statements, or that is requited by law or regulation. The term “fair presentation framework” is used to refer to a financial reporting framework that requires compliance with the requirements of the framework and:
(i) Acknowledges explicitly or implicitly that, to achieve fair presentation of the financial statements, it may be necessary for management to provide disclosures beyond those specifically requited by the framework; or
(ii) Acknowledges explicitly that it may be necessary for management o depart from a requirement of the framework to achieve fair presentation of the financial statements Such departures are expected to be necessary only in extremely rare circumstances. The term “compliance framework” is used to refer to a financial reporting framework that requires compliance with the requirements of the framework, but does not contain acknowledgements in (i) or (ii) above”.

5 In India, Section 217(2AA) of the Companies Act, 1956 inter alia requires  the directors to make a specific assertion in their Directors’ Responsibility Statement under this section that “the directors had prepared the annual accounts on a going concern basis”. Further, paragraph 9 of the Accounting Standard (AS) 1, “Disclosure of Accounting Policies”, states as follows:

“Fundamental Accounting Assumptions
9. Certain fundamental accounting assumptions underlie the preparation and presentation of financial statements. They are usually not specifically stated because their acceptance and use are assumed. Disclosure is necessary if they are not followed.”

Further, paragraph 10 of AS 1 states as follows:

“The following have been generally accepted as fundamental accounting assumptions:-
a. Going Concern
The enterprise is normally viewed as a going concern, that is, as continuing in operation for the foreseeable future. It is assumed that the enterprise has neither the intention nor the necessity of liquidation or of curtailing materially the scale of the operations……”

6 SA 200 (AAS 1), “Basic Principles Governing an Audit” and SA 200A (AAS 2), “Objective and Scope of the Audit of Financial Statements” correspond to International Standard on Auditing (ISA) 200 (Revised and Redrafted). Both the SAs are currently being revised in the light of the ISA 200 (Revised and Redrafted). Post this revision, the principles covered by SA 200 (AAS 1) and SA 200A (AAS 2) will be merged into one standard, i.e., SA 200.

7 SA 315 , “Identifying and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement Through Understanding the Entity and Its Environment”, paragraph 5.

8 The Council at its 282nd meeting held in November, 2008, has approved Revised SA 560, “Subsequent Events”, which is effective for audits of financial statements for periods beginning on or after April 1, 2009.

9 Presently, SA 700 (AAS 28), “The Auditor’s Report on Financial Statements” deals with this aspect. The AASB proposes to issue an Exposure Draft of the proposed new Standard SA 706, “Emphasis of Matter Paragraphs and Other Matters Paragraphs in the Independent Auditor’s Report” based on the corresponding International Standard on Auditing in the near future.

10 Presently, SA 700 (AAS 28), “The Auditor’s Report on Financial Statements” deals with this aspect. The AASB proposes to issue an Exposure Draft of the proposed new Standard SA 705 , “Modifications to the Opinion in the Independent Auditor’s Report” based on the corresponding International Standard on Auditing in the near future.

11 SA 315, “Identifying and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement Through Understanding the Entity and Its Environment”, paragraph 30.

12 SA 330, “The Auditor’s Responses to Assessed Risks”.

13See footnote 10

.

Question & Answer

What do you mean by Going Concern assumption and what is auditor’s responsibility in relation to it?

According to AS-1 Going concern is a fundamental accounting assumption. According to it – The enterprise is normally viewed as a going concern, that is, as continuing in operation for the foreseeable future. It is assumed that the enterprise has neither the intention nor the necessity of liquidation or of curtailing materially the scale of the operations. General purpose financial statements are prepared on a going concern basis, thiat means unless management either intends to liquidate the entity or to cease operations, or has no realistic alternative but to do so, the entity will go on. In India, Section 217(2AA) of the Companies Act, 1956 inter alia requires the directors to make a specific assertion in their Directors’ Responsibility Statement under this section that “the directors had prepared the annual accounts on a going concern basis”. Hence, it management’s responsibility, to consider going concern assumption at the time of preparing and presenting financial statements. According to SA-570(revised ) Auditor’s objective in relation to going concern are

(a) To obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence about the appropriateness of management’s use of the going concern assumption in the preparation and presentation of the financial statements;

(b) To conclude, based on the audit evidence obtained, whether a material uncertainty exists related to events or conditions that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern; and

(c) To determine the implications for the auditor’s report.

What are the steps involved in considering the Going Concern Assumption during an audit ?

Step-1 :- Enquiry with management:- the auditor shall determine whether management has already performed a preliminary assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern, and If management has identified events or conditions that, individually or collectively, may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern what are management’s plans to address them; If management is assured about the going concern the auditor shall evaluate management’s assessment of the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern.

Step-2 When events or conditions have been identified that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern :- In such case the auditor shall obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to determine whether or not a material uncertainty exists through performing additional audit procedures, including consideration of mitigating factors. These procedures shall include:

(a) Auditor shall request management to make its assessment about the going concern .

(b) Auditor shall evaluating management’s plans for future actions in relation to its going concern assessment, whether the outcome of these plans is likely to improve the situation and whether management’s plans are feasible in the circumstances.

(c) When the entity has prepared a cash flow forecast, and analysis of the forecast is a significant factor in considering the future outcome of events or conditions in the evaluation of management’s plans for future action :

(i) Evaluating the reliability of the underlying data generated to prepare the forecast; and

(ii) Determining whether there is adequate support for the assumptions underlying the forecast.

(d) Considering whether any additional facts or information have become available since the date on which management made its assessment.

(e) Requesting written representations from management or, where appropriate, those charged with governance, regarding their plans for future action and the feasibility of these plans.

Step-3 Audit Conclusions and Reporting

Case-1 Use of Going Concern Assumption Appropriate but a Material

Uncertainty Exists :- In such case auditor will require a proper disclosure in the financial statement about such uncertainty. The determination of the adequacy of the financial statement disclosure may involve determining whether the information explicitly draws the reader’s attention to the possibility that the entity may be unable to continue realising its assets and discharging its liabilities in the normal course of business. If such disclosure is made auditor will issue an unqualified opinion but he is required to imphasize the matter. On the other hand if above required disclosure of Material Uncertainty Is Inadequate- auditor will qualify his audit report and if appropriate an Adverse opinion can be given

Case-2 Use of Going Concern Assumption Inappropriate

If the financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis but, in the auditor’s judgment, management’s use of the going concern assumption in the financial statements is inappropriate, the auditor shall express an adverse opinion , regardless of whether or not the financial statements include disclosure of the inappropriateness of management’s use of the going concern assumption. But if management discloses the fact and prepare the financial statement on liquidation basis ( bringing all the assets and liabilities to realizable value) , the auditor may be able to express an unmodified opinion on those financial statements, provided there is adequate disclosure therein but may consider it appropriate or necessary to include an Emphasis of Matter paragraph in the auditor’s report to draw the user’s attention to that alternative basis and the reasons for its use.

Step -4 Communication with Those Charged with Governance :- Unless all those charged with governance are involved in managing the entity, the auditor shall communicate with those charged with governance events or conditions identified that may cast significant doubt on the entity’s ability to continue as a going concern. Such communication with those charged with governance shall include the following:

(a) Whether the events or conditions constitute a material uncertainty;

(b) Whether the use of the going concern assumption is appropriate in the preparation and presentation of the financial statements; and

(c) The adequacy of related disclosures in the financial statements.

Source:- www.caalley.com & assedm trevedi notes

December 22, 2010

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