National Treasury releases draft tax amendments
September 10, 2020
Maintenance of surviving spouse
September 10, 2020

Impact of COVID-19 on assurance engagements

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the national state of disaster that was declared in South Africa on 15 March 2020, a nationwide stay-at-home lockdown was implemented from 26 March to 30 April 2020.

As part of a gradual and phased recovery of economic activity and an easing of the lockdown restrictions, a five-level COVID-19 alert system was adopted by the Government on 1 May 2020, where level 5 means only essential services can operate and level 1 means that most normal activities can resume.

We have all kept a close eye on the news and all announcements by Government, hoping with each announcement that we could resume life as we knew it before the disruption of COVID-19.

The lockdown has had a severe impact on the majority of business sectors.  Government has implemented various relief measures to combat the effect of the lockdown on the already troubled economy, which many of you have utilised.  Please refer to the dedicated COVID-19 page on our website for more information on the various relief measures available.

One of the many questions perhaps burdening your mind at this stage is how this entire pandemic, the subsequent lockdown and the state of our economy and your business in itself will affect your audit or independent review.

Tabled below we aim to provide some insights and solutions to deal with some of the most pressing matters:

Impact How we are assisting

Job planning and scheduling:

Many companies had no access to their offices and the supporting documents that they needed to complete our work.  This had a knock-on effect on our planning for the year.

 

 

  • We’ve rescheduled as many jobs as possible;
  • Teams are working around the clock to ensure that we complete all work on time; and
  • We commit to keep you updated on any changes in our year planner.

Lockdown regulations:

Government has very strict rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  This means that we may not be able to perform the audit/independent review at your premises.

 

 

 

 

  • We have been moving towards a more online platform well before lockdown, and the majority of our staff have been working remotely since the start of lockdown, and still are;
  • We are utilising our IT processes to obtain information from you as effectively as possible; and
  • Where we do visit your offices, our teams are following our very strict regulations to prevent the spread the virus.

Going concern:

As the impact of lockdown regulations on the economy are still ongoing, there may be uncertainty around your company’s ability to continue as a going concern in future.  Some businesses are still not allowed to operate under level 2 of the lockdown, and it is uncertain at which point they will be allowed to operate again.  This means we have to do a bit more work around going concern.

What we do to assess the risk relating to going concern:

  • Review management’s forecasts and assess whether management estimates are reasonable and whether they indicate that the entity will continue as a going concern in the foreseeable future;
  • Review management’s plan for action to resolve/remedy the going concern problem;
  • Review the latest financial information;
  • Consider any pending litigation or claims against the company; and
  • Review current liabilities of the client to determine whether the company can settle debts as they become due and payable.

What we need from you:

  • A summary of how your business was impacted by the lockdown; and
  • Your plan of action to mitigate the impact of the lockdown on your business, e.g. your strategy to cut costs, renegotiation of loan repayments, etc.
 

We are working as effectively as possible to ensure the work does not result in unnecessary additional fees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Financial statements and disclosure:

The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting nationwide lockdown is a major event, which requires disclosure in your financial statements.

 

Our technical team have drafted wording to ensure that we can quickly include the disclosure required, without unnecessary cost to you.

We will continue to strive to deliver our high-quality services to you, our valued client, in this very difficult time.  Should you have any questions around the impact of lockdown on your audit/independent review or need to change the dates, you are most welcome to contact your dedicated audit manager.