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Section 321: Second opinions


321.1           Professional accountants are required to comply with the fundamental principles and apply the conceptual framework set out in Section 120 to identify, evaluate and address threats.

321.2           Providing a second opinion to an entity that is not an existing client might create a self-interest threat to compliance with one or more of the fundamental principles. This section sets out specific requirements and application material relevant to applying the conceptual framework in such circumstances.

Requirements and application material


321.3 A1      A professional accountant might be asked to provide a second opinion on the application of accounting, auditing, reporting or other standards or principles to (a) specific circumstances, or (b) transactions by or on behalf of a company or an entity that is not an existing client. A threat, for example, a self-interest threat to compliance with the principle of professional competence and due care, might be created if the second opinion is not based on the same facts that the existing or predecessor accountant had, or is based on inadequate evidence.

321.3 A2      A factor that is relevant in evaluating the level of such a self-interest threat is the circumstances of the request and all the other available facts and assumptions relevant to the expression of a professional judgment.

321.3 A3      Examples of actions that might be safeguards to address such a self-interest threat include:

  • With the client’s permission, obtaining information from the existing or predecessor accountant.
  • Describing the limitations surrounding any opinion in communications with the client.
  • Providing the existing or predecessor accountant with a copy of the opinion.

When Permission to Communicate is Not Provided

R321.4         If an entity seeking a second opinion from a professional accountant will not permit the accountant to communicate with the existing or predecessor accountant, the accountant shall determine whether the accountant may provide the second opinion sought.