Requests for attestation or confirmations: Use caution
Many CPAs are now being asked to provide attestations or confirmations, or to prepare reports or letters concerning economic support measures.
Sometimes requesters will provide a sample letter or report for the CPA to complete and sign, but many such templates do not comply with Canadian Audit Standards (CASs) or Other Canadian Standards (OCSs) in the CPA Handbook – Assurance.
CPAs who are asked by clients to sign sample letters or reports should be very cautious. Some programs require attestations or declarations from businesses completing the support request, but without asking a third party to provide assurance or an opinion as part of the process.
Remember that the reporting standards set out in the Handbook sections correctly describe the nature and scope of the CPA’s involvement, as well as the level of assurance provided, so as to avoid misunderstanding. CPAs who fail to prepare their written communication with all the proper cautions may increase their professional practice risk, since users could misunderstand the CPAs’ involvement and the level of assurance they provide (or do not provide).
To learn more, please see this article on the topic and our tips on ethical issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have any questions or need advice, feel free to use our technical references service on certification standards.