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Here’s how COVID-19 is impacting professional standards compliance

Written on May 1, 2020

By Laura Hay, CPA, OSCPA executive vice president 

OSCPA’s Public Companies Committee reached out to standard-setters regarding professional standards and reporting concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

FASB responded that they are not looking at any specific relief measures or guidance at this time, but to please contact the technical staff directly, who will answer questions about accounting standards implementation. 

Common questions now include: 

  • Must I send staff to a physical inventory observation in a quarantined area? 
  • Is the COVID-19 impact on my business a goodwill impairment trigger for Q1? 
  • How do I establish fair values in economies where markets are shut down? 
  • What alternative procedures are permitted when I can’t obtain a confirmation from a closed entity? 

The SEC has already provided some relief: 

  • The SEC is delaying some actions and, in some cases, will not enforce deadlines. 
  • The SEC has urged firms and preparers to talk to commission staff if audits can’t be completed on time. The SEC said it would consider waiving filing deadlines if necessary. 
  • They are allowing comment letters to be submitted after the comment period closing for certain pending actions, including the Auditor Independence Rule. 
  • The SEC has postponed many of its meetings and events to be held at a future date. 

AICPA is providing guidance for firms on many of these questions in a March 23 webcast that is now at capacity but is scheduled to be repeated on April 1.