Toronto-based Deloitte LLP has paid $1.59 million in fines and costs for breaching CPA Ontario's code of professional conduct, the regulatory body said.
A number of Deloitte auditors backdated audit working paper signoffs between November 2016 and May 2018, CPA Ontario said in a press release Tuesday.
They did so by changing the date and time settings on their computer clocks to manually override controls in Deloitte’s audit software.
“Backdating obscures when and what work was performed and reviewed. It creates questions about the accuracy or timeliness of audit documentation and the quality of the audit,” said Janet Gillies, CPA Ontario's executive vice-president of regulatory and standards, in the press release.
During the year-and-a-half-long period, more than 930 audit working papers were backdated in at least 39 audit engagements, CPA Ontario said.
It said Deloitte admitted to failing to have the necessary policies and procedures in place to ensure standards of practice were being followed.
CPA Ontario added it has taken into account remediation efforts by Deloitte, including improvements to quality control, internal discipline and mandatory training.
"It is important to underscore that five years ago, Deloitte Canada took proactive steps and self-reported and notified regulators in Canada and the United States of this issue, including CPA Ontario, as we first brought it to their attention at that time," said Deloitte in an unattributed statement.
Deloitte's settlement with CPA Ontario includes a fine of $900,000 and costs of $695,000, the regulatory body said.
Deloitte noted this case was previously investigated by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board in the U.S. and the Canadian Public Accountability Board, and that it was settled with both regulators. The agreement with CPA Ontario resolves past allegations, it said.
"Deloitte conducted a lengthy internal investigation which did not find any evidence suggesting that this matter has affected the quality of Deloitte's audits and we have since enhanced our internal quality control processes."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 31, 2023.
The Canadian Press