Forget what you thought you knew about public entities and how they are defined. The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) has redefined what it means to be a public entity. According to a recent article on IESBA’s website, the organization has expanded the definition of a PIE, or Public Interest Entity, along with revised provisions in the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) (the Code).

The recent revisions, which IESBA created in close partnership with the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB), stipulate new categories of entities as PIEs. Audit of these new entities will be subject to additional requirements to accommodate stakeholders’ enhanced expectations concerning auditor independence when an entity is classified as a PIE. According to IESBA, the revised provisions now include a new category “publicly traded entity” to replace the category “listed entity.” The revised provisions also recognize the essential role local bodies responsible for the adoption of the Code play in delineating the specific entities that should be scoped in as PIEs in their jurisdictions, encouraging them to properly refine the PIE categories in the expanded definition and adding any other categories relevant to their environments.

“The concept of a PIE is central to the application of the IIS and determines how far an auditor must go in meeting the fundamental requirement to be independent,” said IESBA Chair Gabriela Figueiredo Dias. “The revised definition and related provisions represent the third pillar in our package of measures to significantly strengthen auditor independence in the public interest, following the release of our revised Non-Assurance Services and Fees standards last year.” The new definition and subsequent provisions will take effect on December 15, 2024.

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