No Standards Setting Action Expected on Cryptocurrencies
While digital currencies such as Bitcoin may generate headlines, companies do not use them enough to warrant standards setting action at this time, the chiefs of FASB and the IASB said in recent public appearances. In separate presentations at the AICPA’s 2018 Conference on Current SEC and PCAOB Developments in Washington, IASB Chairman Hans Hoogervorst and FASB Chairman Russell Golden repeated their reluctance for the two boards to take on projects to examine how to account for digital currencies such as Bitcoin. Noting that the IASB typically takes five years to develop a new accounting standard, Hoogervorst said on December 11 that “my prediction is cryptocurrencies will be gone before that time.” Golden said that FASB has done extensive research about the use of cryptocurrencies, and while they are a headline-generating topic, U.S. companies do not use them enough to warrant action. “What we’ve found so far is very few companies so far have a material number of cryptocurrencies that they hold,” Golden said. “We’re going to wait and observe that process and see if there’s a need for FASB to weigh in or make changes. At this point, we’re just in an observer stage.”
New Professional Standards for Forensic Accounting Proposed
On December 13, the AICPA proposed new professional standards for CPAs who provide forensic accounting services. The association’s effort to provide guidance comes as there has been continued growth of and demand for forensic services. Employment in forensic accounting grew at an annualized rate of 18% from 2012 to 2017, according to a report by market research firm IBISWorld. Forensic accounting generally involves the application of specialized knowledge and investigative skills by CPAs and CPA firms to collect, analyze, and evaluate evidence and to interpret and communicate findings. The AICPA expects the standard to take effect for new engagements on or after May 1, 2019, with early adoption permitted.
Zietsman Named Chief Auditor
The PCAOB has named Megan Zietsman, deputy chair of the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) and partner with Deloitte & Touche LLP, as its next chief auditor. The appointment follows the departure of Martin Baumann in May, following a complete turnover of PCAOB members earlier in the year. Barbara Vanich will continue to serve as acting chief auditor until Zietsman assumes her position in early 2019. “Megan’s extensive experience in audit standard-setting and proven leadership skills make her an excellent fit for the role of Chief Auditor,” PCAOB Chairman William Duhnke said in a statement. “The board is fortunate to have Megan on our team, and I look forward to working with her as we seek to achieve continuous improvement in audit quality.” Zietsman is expected to assume her role at the PCAOB in early 2019.