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1 A B C D E F G H I J L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z А Б В Г Д Е Ж З И І К Н О П Р С Т У Ф Ц Ч Э

Independence Standards Board (eng)

The Independence Standards Board (ISB) was established in May 1997 as a result of discussions between the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The various securities laws enacted by Congress and administered by the SEC recognize that the integrity and credibility of the financial reporting process for public companies depends, in large part, on auditors remaining independent from their audit clients. The operating policies of the ISB are designed to permit timely, thorough, and open study of issues involving auditor independence and to encourage broad public participation in the process of establishing and improving independence standards. The mission of the ISB is to establish independence standards applicable to audits of public entities in order to serve the public interest and to protect and promote investors’ confidence in the securities markets. ISB STRUCTURE The ISB is a board of eight members, supported by an Independence Issues Committee, an executive director, and other support staff. The ISB operates as an independent body, funded by the AICPA SEC Practice Section of its Division of CPA Firms (SECPS). Accordingly, the ISB has authority to make public statements on matters relating to the subject of auditor independence in connection with audits of public entities without clearance from the SECPS or the AICPA board of directors. ISB board members serve on a parttime basis. Four are public members, three are senior partners of SECPS member firms, and one is the president of the AICPA or the president’s designee. Public members are supposed to be prominent individuals of high integrity and reputation who understand the importance of investor protection, the U.S. capital markets, and the accounting profession. The appointment of the initial board was made by the SECPS Executive Committee after consultation with the SEC and the president of the AICPA. The terms of the board members are staggered and may be of varied lengths. Following the appointment of the initial board, successor public members will be nominated for three-year terms by the existing public members of the board. New members from SECPS member firms will be nominated for three-year terms by the SECPS Executive Committee subject to the approval of the AICPA’s board of directors. The entire board will elect replacement members from those slates of nominees. The board selects its own chairperson from among the four public members. ROLE OF CHAIR The chair of the ISB serves a three-year term. The chair has powers and responsibilities relating to the appointment and supervision of personnel at the ISB, the distribution of work among such personnel, and the use and expenditure of funds by the ISB within the budget constraints approved by the ISB. The chair also has the authority to establish and appoint persons to task forces following approval by the ISB and after consultation with the executive director and others. The chair provides the leadership in identifying the pronouncements the ISB will issue, including, if necessary and appropriate, the authority, hierarchy, and exposure process for each pronouncement. All proposed standards will be exposed for public comment for a minimum of thirty days. ISB STAFF The ISB has a full-time executive director and, as necessary or appropriate, other full-time professional and administrative staff. The ISB staff fields telephone and other inquiries concerning independence issues in the manner that the board directs and pursuant to policies established by the board. In responding to inquiries, the ISB staff provides informal interpretations or guidance to the inquiring parties. As appropriate, the ISB staff informs the board regarding issues raised in such inquiries that might benefit from more comprehensive consideration by the board and, to the extent delegated or assigned by the board, the Independence Issues Committee (IIC). The ISB and its staff address independence inquiries that arise, and the ISB understands that the SEC will encourage registrants and auditors to look to the ISB and its staff to address such matters. Further, the ISB understands that the SEC staff expects to refer specific independencerelated issues that may arise to the ISB. Absent express ratification by the board, ISB staff interpretations will be considered as applying only to the particular parties directly affected by the interpretation, who may rely on such interpretation. The executive director advises and consults with the AICPA, including its Professional Ethics Executive Committee, as appropriate, on independence issues of interest to the AICPA. A public file on all ISB meetings is kept for public reference and inspection for a reasonable period of time consistent with the public interest in the AICPA library. THE INDEPENDENCE ISSUES COMMITTEE The Independence Issues Committee (IIC) assists the ISB in establishing independence standards through the timely identification and discussion of emerging independence issues within the framework of existing authoritative literature. The IIC also addresses broader interpretative issues, including those that emerge from inquiries fielded by the ISB staff, and communicates its consensus on such issues to the board. The IIC makes publicly available its consensuses and the rationales or bases for such conclusions. The IIC is comprised of nine certified public accountants (CPAs), drawn from SECPS member firms that audit SEC registrants, who are knowledgeable about the existing independence literature and are in positions to be aware of emerging practice issues as they develop. The SECPS Executive Committee nominates the nine members of the IIC, in consultation with and subject to the approval of the ISB. The ISB specifies the terms of the IIC members. The ISB names the chair from the nine members of the IIC. The meetings of the IIC are usually open to the public, but sessions or portions of sessions may be closed to the public if they deal with (1) administrative matters, (2) matters that may cause substantial harm or injury (a rare occurrence), or (3) matters involving or relating to advice of counsel; all such closed sessions must be authorized by the chair or his or her designee, and in no instance can the SEC staff be excluded from these sessions. For the IIC to reach a consensus, at least six IIC members must approve the judgment or determination and no more than two IIC members may oppose it. On reaching a consensus, the IIC will promptly forward the matter to the ISB for ratification. If a majority of the ISB ratifies the consensus, the ISB understands that the SEC will consider such consensus as having substantial authoritative support. PUBLIC HEARINGS The ISB may seek information about independence matters by holding a public hearing. The basis for a public hearing generally will be an exposure draft, although the ISB may also determine to hold a public hearing for any other purpose. Each public hearing will be conducted by one or more members of the ISB or IIC, the executive director, or technical staff pursuant to procedures approved by the ISB for such hearing. The ISB will publicly announce its intent to hold a public hearing at least sixty days prior to the hearing, unless a shorter period (but in no event less than thirty days) is considered appropriate by the ISB, in any manner reasonably designed to inform the public. Any individual or organization may request to be heard at a public hearing, and, to the extent practicable, the ISB will attempt to schedule all those making timely requests. Submission of written comments, a position paper, or an outline of a proposed oral presentation will generally be a condition of being heard. Materials submitted to the ISB in this connection will constitute a part of its public file. More information is available from Independence Standards Board, 6th floor, 1211 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10036-8775;(212)596-6133 (telephone); (212)596-6137 (fax);or http://www.cpaindependence.org. (SEE ALSO: American Institute of Certified Public Accountants;Auditing; Securities and Exchange Commission) C. RICHARD BAKER


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