IFAC Issues New Standard on Auditor Competence

“A primary way that the accountancy profession protects the public interest is by requiring that all audit professionals have the necessary skills and training to perform their roles effectively,” Henry Saville, International Accounting Education Standards Board (IAESB) chair, said in a prepared statement announcing the new standard. “The public has a right to expect that all audit professionals are properly trained and can be relied upon to perform competently throughout their careers.”

The IAESB, is the independent standard-setting board within the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

The new standard, International Education Standard (IES) 8, Competence Requirements for Audit Professionals, outlines the skills, training, professional values and attributes necessary for competent performance and applies to all audit professionals, not just the audit engagement partner. It also prescribes specific competence requirements for audit professionals involved in transnational audits.

Effective July 1, 2008, IFAC member bodies will be expected to modify their policies and procedures to ensure that audit professionals meet the requirements of IES 8. These requirements include having advanced level knowledge of audit and financial reporting; relevant information technology knowledge; and the professional skills and professional values, ethics and attitudes expected from audit professionals.

IES 8 will also impact the education of new audit professionals. Education and development programs for new audit professionals will need to comply with the new standard’s requirements and may need immediate revision to ensure that they are operational well before the effective date of July 1, 2008. The standard requires professional accountants taking on the role of audit professional to undertake a period of practical experience in audit and to undergo an assessment of capabilities and competence before they assume such a role.

IES 8, Competence Requirements for Audit Professionals, can be downloaded free-of-charge from the IFAC online bookstore at: www.ifac.org/store.

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