International Standard of Auditing (ISA) 610 is created with the aim of ensuring that there is proper clarity about external auditors using the work of internal auditors.
It is rudimentary to have certain basic guidelines in this regard, that can be used to explain the protocol that is required to be taken by external auditors in the case where they need to use the work that the internal auditors prepared.
Aspects that are included within the scope of this ISA are two-fold.
Firstly, it includes the work of internal auditors when it comes to using this for obtaining audit evidence. Secondly, it also includes the use of internal auditors to provide direct assistance under the direction, supervision, as well as a review of the external auditor.
The role of external auditors, when it comes to gauging if the work can be used or not, depends on the external auditors’ assessment to gauge the underlying assistance from internal auditors.
In the same manner, it can also be seen that internal auditors are supposed to help external auditors to analyze if the work that is conducted in this regard can be covered in the scope and if the work that is conducted is adequate when it comes to purposes of the audit.
Aspects considered by the External Auditor when using the work of an Internal Auditor
The external audit can determine if the work of the internal auditor can be used for the purpose by ensuring a number of aspects of the internal audit department, which are given below:
- Firstly, they should be able to evaluate the extent to which the internal audit function is functional within the organization, the existing status, and relevant policies and procedures that can support the internal auditor’s objectivity.
- Similarly, they are also supposed to evaluate the overall extent of competence of the internal audit function.
- Lastly, the external auditors should also evaluate if the internal audit function has an underlying systematic and disciplined approach, which is reflected in the quality control procedures.
Conditions where the work of the Internal Auditor cannot be used
- The external auditor is not supposed to use the work of the internal auditor in the case where there is sufficient evidence to prove that the function’s organizational status and existing policies are not in compliance with the principles of objectivity.
- Similarly, the internal auditor’s work cannot be used if the function lacks overall competence and a basic approach toward quality control.
Determining the Nature and Extent of Work of the Internal Audit Function
In order to properly assess the nature and extent of work that can be used from work carried out by the internal audit function, the external auditor needs to understand the nature and scope of the work that the internal auditor has performed to realize if that would suffice in gathering substantial process for the subsequent audit process.
Therefore, this requires the external auditor to make significant judgments about the work that has already been conducted by the internal auditor, and the extent to which there is undue use of the work of the internal audit function, which can revolve around the existing audit procedures.
Additionally, it should also be ensured that the external auditor is not supposed to rely solely on the work of the internal auditor, but should also ensure that he is able to use his personal judgment in order to carry out the relevant audit procedures in this regard.
Therefore, it can be seen that the work of internal auditors can be utilized in a number of ways and cases.
However, certain contingencies need to be accounted for in order to ensure that the work that internal auditors have already carried out does not compromise the final result in a way that would be misleading for the external stakeholders.
Hence, in this case, it can also be seen that there are a number of things that should ideally be kept in mind while ascertaining the extent to which internal audit work can be utilized.
Only after proper scrutiny can this work be used.
Additionally, it also needs to be disclosed by the auditors that the work by internal auditors had been utilized for the process so that the users of the financial statements know that internal audit work has been utilized for the purpose.