New auditor rotation rules confirmed
New requirements on the length of time audit partners can perform their role have been released, as scrutiny around the independence of the external audit process increases.
The Accounting Professional and Ethical Standards Board (APESB) has released new professional and ethical requirements on the length of time audit partners can perform their roles. The new requirements on audit partner rotation will come into effect on 1 January 2019.
Some of the requirements include a cooling-off period of five consecutive years if the auditor acted as the engagement partner for seven cumulative years.
If the auditor was appointed as responsible for the engagement quality control review and acted in that capacity for seven cumulative years, the individual is required to abide by a cooling-off period of three consecutive years.
If the individual acted in any other capacity as a key audit partner for seven cumulative years, the cooling-off period will be two consecutive years.
Further requirements can be found in the Close-off Document: Amendments to Long Association of Personnel with an Audit or Assurance Client requirements in APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants. The requirements align with provisions released by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA).
“The impact of the new requirements is substantive. It is important that auditors understand how the changes impact them, and how these changes interact with relevant Australian laws and regulations, so they can apply the rules appropriately,” said APESB chair Nicola Roxon.
“The APESB has published a practical guide to assist with implementation – the audit partner rotation requirements [can be found] in Australia-Technical Staff Questions & Answers. This will be a valuable tool for auditors and audit firms as they navigate the new rules and comply with the requirements.
“Audit partner rotation requirements strengthen the independence of auditors, and investors and other stakeholders’ confidence on appropriate audit tenure,” she added.
“At the same time, the requirements recognise that strong audit outcomes also come from a deep knowledge and understanding of a client’s business and operations, gained over a period of time.”