AICPA Proposes New Standards for Blockchain-based Audit Evidence

By Warren Hayes | June 25, 2019
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The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has proposed an updated set of standards for audit evidence including the accommodation of blockchain-based data.

The new proposal entitled Proposed Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS), Audit Evidence, will establish guidelines on how blockchain and data analytics evidence should be evaluated by preparers and auditors. It will also deal with issues of the application of professional skepticism, the expanding use of external information sources as audit evidence, as well as the accuracy, completeness, and reliability of audit evidence.

“Given the rapid evolution of audit evidence sources that are available today, it is critically important that auditors have a robust, durable set of attributes that allow them to make consistent assessments about the sufficiency and appropriateness of audit evidence obtained,” AICPA Chief Auditor Robert Dohrer said as quoted by Accounting Today.

Founded in 1887, the AICPA is a professional organization of certified public accountants in the United States that sets ethical standards for the profession and U.S. auditing standards for private firms, nonprofit organizations, federal, state, and local governments.

The new standards also include a recommendation to help auditors determine if sufficient and appropriate audit evidence has been obtained and allow them to consider a multidimensional set of metrics to evaluate evidence from sources, including the use of automated tools and techniques.

“This proposed SAS modernizes our standards to recognize the sources of information and the technologies that were not available to auditors when the standard was last updated,” Dohrer said.

Last year, the AICPA released a white paper implicating the potential impact of blockchain technology on the audit and assurance services landscape. It called for auditors to monitor the technology’s development and work with experts to audit the complex technical risks associated with it.

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