Practice review - frequently asked questions

Q1.How are practices selected for practice review?
 
Ans.     

The Quality Assurance Department selects practices for review primarily based on risk factors including the public interest profile of audit clients. The selection of practices is identified from a review of practices' responses in the practice review self-assessment questionnaire and other relevant information. Practices with regulated or significant public interest entity clients (but not listed entities) are given priority for site visit reviews. A number of practices are selected for site visit reviews on a random basis to ensure that all practices will have a reasonable chance of being selected.

 
Q2.How often will listed company auditors be subject to practice review? 
 
Ans.Practices with listed entity client(s) will be visited at least once every three years. These practices will not necessarily be visited on a strict three-year cycle as practices may be selected for a visit ahead of the three-year cycle if there are any indications of a potential risk that needs to be addressed.
 
Q3.How do reviewers conduct review work during the site visit?
 
Ans.Reviewers focus on the practice's own quality control procedures and how the practice ensures the quality of their own work. The review puts emphasis on risk areas and key judgments in audit assignment reviews rather than detailed checklist approach. The reviewers discuss findings of the practice review with partners or directors of the practices and agree the way forward.
 
Q4.How long is a practice review site visit?
 
Ans.Depending on the size of the practices, the practice review site visit could last for a few days or several weeks.
 
Q5.Can my practice request a change of the site visit date, which was specified in the practice review notification letter?
 
Ans.

The site visit will normally be scheduled for six weeks after the formal notification. You should notify the Quality Assurance Department immediately if you consider the timing of the visit to be inconvenient. The Quality Assurance Department will try to accommodate requests for changes to visit dates with valid reasons and evidence of proof. However, the Quality Assurance Department will not be able to set aside significant periods of time during the year when no on-site review activities are taking place.

 
Q6.When will the practices be informed of the engagements selected for practice review?
 
Ans.

As a general policy, Quality Assurance Department will inform the practice of the engagements selected for practice review 7 working days prior to the commencement of the practice review site visit. The 7 working day notification period is conditional on the Quality Assurance Department receiving a client list from the practice no less than 3 weeks before the scheduled visit.

 
Q7.How many practice reviews were carried out in 2016?
 
Ans.In 2016, Quality Assurance Department carried out 262 practice reviews including reviews of the Big Four, practices that audit listed and other public interest entities and a number of other small and medium sized practices.
 
Q8.Will practising certificate holders practising in his or her own name be selected for practice review?
 
Ans.Yes. All practices including firms, corporate practices and practising certificate holders are subject to practice review unless they are not carrying out audit or assurance work.
 
Q9.How can I contact the Institute’s Quality Assurance Department?
Ans.Queries can be emailed to the Quality Assurance Department at the usual contact of qualityassurance@hkicpa.org.hk.