The International Standard on Auditing (ISA) 600 has recently undergone significant revisions, with the most recent standard issued in February. The effective date for these changes is for periods beginning on or after December 15, 2023, which means that auditors will need to be prepared for these updates by the time they conduct audits for the year ending December 31, 2024. In this blog post, we will explore the key changes to ISA 600 and provide insights into how these updates will impact the auditing process.
One of the most notable changes to ISA 600 is the expansion of its scope. Previously, the standard was primarily relevant for group audits; however, the revised standard now includes more detail on when it is applicable. ISA 600 is not only relevant for groups but also for situations where there is a component auditor or when the work of another auditor is being used.
For example, consider an Irish company with a warehouse in Italy holding a significant amount of stock. In this case, it may not be feasible for the Irish auditor to travel to Italy for the stock count. Instead, a local Italian auditor may be engaged to attend the stock count on behalf of the Irish auditor. In such situations, the local Italian auditor is considered a component auditor, and the guidance in ISA 600 can be applied.
Increased Focus on Risk Assessment and Audit Planning
The revised ISA 600 places a greater emphasis on risk assessment at the group level and audit planning. This increased focus aims to ensure that group auditors are fully responsible for the audit opinion, procedures, and risks at the group level. The standard clarifies and emphasizes the group auditor's responsibility for ethical requirements, understanding the group, identifying risks, responding to those risks, and evaluating audit evidence.
Definition of Key Audit Partner
One change that has already been enforced in the updated ISA 600 is the definition of a key audit partner. A key audit partner is now defined as the statutory auditors designated by an audit firm for a particular audit engagement who are primarily responsible for carrying out the audits on behalf of the firm. In the case of a group audit, this includes the statutory auditor at the group level and those at the level of material subsidiaries.
Implications for Auditors
The updates to ISA 600 have several implications for auditors. First, they must be aware of the expanded scope of the standard and understand when it is applicable. This may require additional training and education to ensure that auditors are familiar with the revised guidance.
Second, auditors must place a greater emphasis on risk assessment and audit planning at the group level. This will require a more thorough understanding of the group's structure, operations, and risks, as well as a more robust approach to audit planning and execution.
Finally, auditors must be aware of the updated definition of a key audit partner and ensure that they are fulfilling their responsibilities as outlined in the revised standard.
The updates to ISA 600 represent significant changes to the auditing process, particularly for group audits. Auditors must be prepared for these changes and ensure that they are familiar with the revised guidance and its implications. By doing so, they can continue to provide high-quality audit services and maintain the trust and confidence of their clients and stakeholders.
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The contents of this article are meant as a guide only and are not a substitute for professional advice. The authors accept no responsibility for any action taken, or refrained from, as a result of the material contained in this document. Specific advice should be obtained before acting or refraining from acting, in connection with the matters dealt with in this article.