ACCA F8考试：USING THE WORK OF INTERNAL AUDITORS（一）
1. Can internal auditors be used to provide direct assistance to the external auditor for purposes of audit?
International Standard on Auditing (ISA) 610, Using the Work of Internal Auditors has been revised and published in 2013. This standard focuses on whether the external auditor can use the work of the internal audit function for purposes of audit, and the revised version of the standard, clarifies whether the internal auditors can be used to provide direct assistance to the external auditor. The material pertaining to direct assistance is effective for audits of financial statements for periods ended on or after 15 December 2014.
2. EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL AUDITORS
Much of the work performed by a company’s internal audit function can overlap with the work conducted by the external auditor, specifically in areas dealing with the assessment of control processes. It is likely that in carrying out detailed work evaluating and reviewing the company’s internal control framework internal audit perform procedures on financial controls relevant to the external audit. As such, the external auditor, rather than duplicating these procedures, may be able to place reliance on the work carried out by the internal auditor.
This article focuses on the provision of direct assistance by the internal auditors, which – to date – has been a very controversial issue. Internal auditors are the employees of the entity, which could result in threats to independence (either in fact or perceived) if direct assistance is provided by the internal auditors. On the other hand, the following benefits relating to provision of direct assistance by the internal auditors cannot be ignored:
There will be a strengthened relationship between the external and internal auditors through a more effective dialogue
With the knowledge of the internal auditors, the external auditor can gain additional insights into the entity
The external auditor can use internal auditors who may have relevant expertise in particular areas, and
The external audit team can focus on the more significant audit issues.
3. WHEN CAN INTERNAL AUDITORS BE USED TO PROVIDE DIRECT ASSISTANCE?
The external auditor, in the course of discharging their responsibilities must decide if it is appropriate in the circumstances to use internal audit to provide direct assistance. The ISA identifies a number of steps that the external auditor should work through when determining to what extent, if any, direct assistance can be provided.
Step 1: Prohibition by law or regulation
The external auditor may be prohibited by law or regulation from obtaining direct assistance from internal auditors; therefore, the first task is to understand the law or regulation of the jurisdiction in which the auditor is operating. In the United Kingdom (and Ireland) for example, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) prohibits external auditors from using internal auditors as ‘direct assistance’ members of the audit team in order to enhance the principle of auditor independence. Consequently the guidelines in relation to direct assistance are irrelevant to audits conducted in accordance with ISAs (UK and Ireland).