By the MIA SMP Department
The past few years are a testament that the world demands agility to adapt to unprecedented changes. What is of utmost importance to audit firms is to be able to adapt and progress, always enhancing the audit experience whilst sustaining quality with objectivity and independence being top of mind.
Amidst the collective changing realities, commitment to audit quality remains strong post pandemic for KS Chia & Associates and Steven Lim & Associates. One of the ways the firms demonstrated their continuous improvement mindset to enhance audit quality is by signing up for the Quality Assessment Programme (QAP). Below, KS Chia & Associates and Steven Lim & Associates share their experiences with QAP participation.
Brief profile of the firms
KS Chia & Associates is a sole proprietor firm with over 20 staff focusing on the provision of audit services. Sole proprietor, Chia Ken Seng has 20 years’ experience in public practice. The firm started its QAP on 5 October 2022 and the final report was issued on 1 December 2022.
Steven Lim & Associates is a partnership firm which predominantly provides audit services besides other ancillary services. The firm has 6 branches and 3 partners overseeing more than 40 staff. The partners, Lim Hoo Teck, Gan Soon Huei and Chua Ser Terk have more than 35, 15 and 15 years of experience in public practice respectively. The firm commenced its QAP on 25 April 2022 and concluded with the issuance of a final report on 17 August 2022.
Here are their QAP stories:
KS Chia & Associates: I got to know about the QAP from the seminars and webinars that we had attended and from the MIA’s email blast.
Steven Lim & Associates: From various MIA sources, such as the notices and articles in e-Accountants Today.
Also, we are attracted by some pull factors such as the reduction in maximum fee from RM10,000 to RM6,000 and the introduction of the 12-month improvement period allowed for QAP firms, during which QAP participating firms will not be selected for practice review.
Firstly, we provided the coordinator with our available date and time and selected an audit engagement for the review. Then, we had a virtual kick off meeting with the reviewers before the commencement of the QAP. During the review, the reviewers spent two days of fieldwork at our firm, reviewing the selected audit engagement and our firm’s ISQC 1 manual.
After the fieldwork, we attended the QAP feedback catch-up session before the closing meeting. The reviewers then issued a draft findings report, and we provided responses and a proposed action plan on the findings.
Finally, we received the finalised QAP report from The Malaysian Institute of Certified Public Accountants (MICPA).
KS Chia & Associates: We find that the process of QAP is fast and straightforward. The whole process does not disrupt the firm’s operation. Regardless, we thought it would be more meaningful if the reviewer gave us a rating based on the findings after the QAP, on whether our firm is up to the mark or otherwise.
Steven Lim & Associates: It would be better if samples or templates to assist firms in improving audit quality can be provided upon conclusion of the assessment.
KS Chia & Associates: We expected an action plan that we could implement based on the reviewers’ suggestions in the final QAP report and not to continue with the mistakes we used to make when performing the audit.
Steven Lim & Associates: We were looking forward to having a better understanding of our internal weaknesses and look at ways for improvement.
KS Chia & Associates: Yes, it is value for money. We have learnt a lot during this QAP. It is very practical and points out specifically the weaknesses and what areas to be improved in our firm’s practice.
Steven Lim & Associates: Yes, it is worthwhile for the firm.
We need to enhance the audit fieldwork process and to improve on documentation of the audit findings.
KS Chia & Associates: We will put more emphasis on the quality of the audit engagement and not repeat the same mistakes made before participating in the QAP.
Steven Lim & Associates: We could further improve the quality of our firm in terms of audit quality and also audit staff.
Certainly. Audit quality is fundamental to maintaining public trust in the capital markets and protecting investors. It is a key measure on which our professional reputation stands.
KS Chia & Associates: In addition, we have suggested to our other associated firms and acquaintances to sign up for the QAP.
Yes. We plan to enrol for the QAP again in the near future in our pursuit for continuous improvement in our firm audit quality.
Yes. Our ISQC 1’s manual was already reviewed in the previous QAP, and now we look forward for our System of Quality Management to be reviewed too.
KS Chia & Associates: Yes. The QAP will provide the audit firm with the findings and proposed remedial action plans for implementation. The remedial action plan if executed well surely will improve the audit firm’s audit quality and thus, there will be less hassle when Practice Review takes place.
Steven Lim & Associates: Yes, because QAP is a good assessment programme which can help us to identify our weaknesses, so that we can find ways to improve the audit quality in our firm.
About the QAP
The QAP is an initiative to enhance audit quality among SMPs. A joint collaboration between MIA and MICPA since the QAP agreement was first signed on 25 October 2016, the QAP signals MIA and MICPA’s commitment towards continuous improvement in the audit quality of SMPs in Malaysia.
How the QAP Works
The QAP is a structured review of a MIA member firm by reviewer(s) appointed by MICPA. The review of the whole firm will comprise two parts:
- A review of the firm’s compliance with the International Standard of Quality Control (ISQC) 1*, and;
- A review of the documentation of at least one completed audit engagement.
Participation in the QAP by SMPs is on a voluntary basis and designed to be educational in nature. The review will be conducted at the firms’ premises. At the end of the review period, the QAP reviewer(s) will provide a report on the findings and the reviewed firm will provide the proposed remedial action plans for implementation.
*Currently in the midst of including the review of System of Quality Management following the ISQM 1 which has become effective on 15 December 2022. The review of ISQM 1 is expected to be rolled out in Quarter 4 of 2023.
Objectives of the QAP
The QAP is designed to promote continuous improvement in audit quality in Malaysia.
It aims to assist audit firms in assessing compliance with the applicable auditing standards and MIA By-Laws in relation to audit engagements on financial statements prepared in accordance with the applicable approved accounting standards and the Companies Act 2016.
The maximum fee for participation in the Quality Assessment Programme (QAP) has been reduced from RM10,000 to RM6,000 since August 2022 and will be valid until 30 June 2024. The maximum fee excludes out-of-pocket disbursements and Sales and Services Tax.
Please seize the opportunity to participate in the QAP at a reduced fee while it is still offered at this rate.
Firms that have participated in the QAP before are encouraged to request for follow-up to assess the execution of any remediation action plans as agreed with the QAP reviewers in the previous QAP.
Interested to participate?
SMPs (not registered with the Audit Oversight Board) that are interested to participate in the QAP are required to complete the Practice Profile Information Questionnaire by clicking here and forwarding the same to the SMP Department at [email protected]. The questionnaire will enable the QAP reviewer(s) to understand your practice better.
Effective April 2023, firms that have participated in the QAP will be given time for quality improvement and will not be selected for MIA Practice Review at least within the 24 months after the completion of the QAP, provided the whole process (starting from the audit firm’s enrolment to QAP Programme) does not exceed 36 months. The completion date of the QAP will be the date of the final report issued to participating firms. (Note: Under normal circumstances, QAP participating firms will not be selected for practice review by MIA during the 24-month improvement period, except for firms referred by other regulators for inspection/investigation/disciplinary action)
Audit firms that are currently under MIA Practice Review or have been notified for MIA Practice Review are not allowed to participate in the QAP until the Practice Review process is completed.
Testimonials from participating firms, detailed processes, charges, common findings of the QAP and the comparison between practice review and the QAP can be found in the following articles published in e-AT: