In follow-up to its 2012 release of stronger standards dealing with the external auditor’s use of an internal audit function’s work, the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) issues new requirements and guidance that address the auditor’s responsibilities if using internal auditors to provide direct assistance under the direction, supervision, and review of the external auditor for purposes of the audit.
International Standard on Auditing (ISA) 610 (Revised 2013), Using the Work of Internal Auditors, now includes guidance to external auditors when determining whether they can use direct assistance from internal auditors, and if so, in which areas and to what extent. The material addressing direct assistance does not apply if the external auditor is prohibited by law or regulation from obtaining direct assistance.
“The new requirements and guidance not only clarify the scope of the standard, which we have already heard is an essential improvement, but also clearly set out the conditions, limits, and safeguards necessary so that direct assistance is used only in appropriate circumstances,” said Prof. Arnold Schilder, IAASB chairman.
In conjunction with ISA 610 (Revised 2013), the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) also released amendments to the definition of engagement team in its Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (IESBA Code). The amendments clarify the relationship between internal auditors providing direct assistance and the meaning of an engagement team under the IESBA Code.
“The ISA does not require or encourage the external auditor to use, or to consider using, internal auditors to provide direct assistance, nor does it override relevant law or regulation. However, where direct assistance is permitted, the standard provides a robust framework for the external auditor’s judgments,” noted James Gunn, IAASB technical director. “The external auditor can therefore look to where there may be potential benefits from direct assistance, while understanding the limits to using such assistance and being able to take the necessary steps to avoid over or undue use, in line with the external auditor’s sole responsibility for the audit opinion expressed.”
The material in ISA 610 (Revised 2013) pertaining to direct assistance is effective for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2014.