European audit exemption thresholds rise

Increases in European audit exemption thresholds over the past few years have exacerbated the need for alternative services for SMEs. And this trend is set to continue in the near future, says the Federation of European Accountants (FEE). FEE has just published a survey of alternative assurance and related services across Europe. These are basically all services offered to entities other than an audit of their financial statements. FEE says a number of such services have a longstanding tradition, but most result from more recent initiatives taken in European jurisdictions. Some are a response to increases in audit exemption thresholds, others are answers to specific market demands, while a few appear to result from the reconsideration of the need for voluntary audits. Amid the heightened attention to alternative assurance and related services, the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board has started projects to revise its compilation and review standards, as well as its general assurance standard, expected too be finalised by the end of 2011 or in 2012. FEE president Hans van Damme said: 'The findings of the study demonstrate the diversity of services provided across Europe in response to clients' needs. FEE therefore encourages the IAASB to consider the results of this survey for its expected revision of its Assurance framework and standards on alternative assurance and assurance-related subjects.'
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