International Standards on Auditing (ISA)
The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) is an independent standard-setting body under the auspices of the International Foundation for Audit and Ethics and is subject to the oversight of the Public Interest Oversight Board (PIOB).
The IAASB’s objective is to serve the public interest by setting high-quality auditing, assurance, and other related standards and by facilitating the convergence of international and national auditing and assurance standards, thereby enhancing the quality and consistency of practice throughout the world and strengthening public confidence in the global auditing and assurance profession. ISAs are written by the IAASB in the context of an audit of financial statements.
Each ISA is structured in separate sections:
Introduction: Introductory material may include the purpose, scope, and subject matter of the ISA, in addition to the responsibilities of the auditor and others in the context in which the ISA is set.
Objective: Each ISA contains a clear statement of the objective of the auditor in the audit area addressed by that ISA.
Definitions: For greater understanding of the ISAs, applicable terms are defined in each ISA.
Requirements: Each objective is supported by clearly stated requirements. Requirements are always expressed by the phrase "the auditor shall."
Application and other explanatory material: The application and other explanatory material explains more precisely what a requirement means or is intended to cover, or includes examples of procedures that may be appropriate under given circumstances.
The latest version of the Handbook of International Quality Control, Auditing, Review, Other Assurance, and Related Services Pronouncements (“Handbook”) was published December 2021.
ISAs are supported by International Auditing Practice Notes (“IAPNs”), which are included in the Handbook. IAPNs are intended to provide practical assistance to auditors and do not impose additional requirements on auditors beyond those includes in the ISAs, not do they change the auditor’s responsibility to comply with all ISAs relevant to the audit.
As part of the Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) initiative, the World Bank established a program in 2008 to assist its member countries with the implementation of international accounting and auditing standards for strengthening the financial reporting regime. The objectives of this program are two-fold:
- Analyze comparability of national accounting and auditing standards with international standards, determine the degree with which applicable accounting and auditing standards are complied, and assess strengths and weaknesses of the institutional framework in supporting high-quality financial reporting.
- Assist the country in developing and implementing a country action plan for improving institutional capacity with a view to strengthening the country's corporate financial reporting regime.