SMSF Auditor Melbourne FAQ’s
Acceptance and continuance
Who can audit an SMSF?
Before 1 July 2013
SMSF audits must be carried out by approved auditors. An auditor is an individual who is currently:
• Registered as a company auditor; or
• A CPA Australia member; or
• An Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia member; or
• An Institute of Public Accountants member; or
• An Association of Taxation and Management Accountants member or fellow; or
• A fellow of the National Tax and Accountants Association Ltd; or
• An SMSF specialist auditor from the SMSF Professionals Association of Australia Ltd; or
• The Commonwealth Auditor-General, or that of a state or territory.
From 1 July 2013
SMSF audits must be carried out by ASIC registered auditors, also known as approved SMSF auditors.
A list of competency requirements for SMSF auditors was developed by CPA Australia as part of a joint initiative carried out with the regulator and other professional accounting bodies. These requirements were created as a result of market growth in the area of SMSFs, they require that SMSF auditors:
• Possess a practicing certificate issued by a professional accounting body such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, CPA Australia, or the Institute of Public Accountants;
• Be covered by professional indemnity insurance;
• Meet the ongoing professional development requirements;
• If there are others undertaking work on their behalf, these individuals must have appropriate experience and knowledge and are to be supervised when conducting audits;
In addition to the above, an SMSF auditor must demonstrate competency in these areas:
• Planning the engagement;
• Acceptance and retention of clients;
• Substantive procedures;
• Evaluating controls and testing these controls;
• Forming an audit opinion.
These competency requirements can be found on the CPA Australia website. They continue to apply to members in addition to the ASIC auditor registration requirements which came into effect on 1 July 2013.
ASIC has introduced its own competency standards for approved SMSF Auditors. These standards are largely based on the CPA Australia requirements. ASIC has been monitoring compliance with these standards since 1 July 2013.
As part of the new registration regime for SMSF auditors, the SISR now prescribe APES110 to all approved SMSF auditors. APES 110 is the code of ethics for professional accountants. Approved SMSF Auditors will be required to declare on the SMSF independent auditors report that they are acting in compliance with these requirements.
The Auditing and Assurance Standards Board has provided guidance in the form of Appendix 6 of Guidance Statement GS 009 which relates to threats to independence within a SMSF. This Appendix lays out a variety of safeguards and scenarios available to auditors in a variety of given situations. Safeguards found within an SMSF may be limited as SMSFs are generally small entities with limited segregation of duties.
If an audit client is assisted in the preparation of accounting records or financial reports, a self-review threat may be created should these reports and records be subsequently audited by the firm which assisted in the preparation. If the firm’s staff happen to be making management decisions for the SMSF (which may be the case if the firm is providing administrative services to the SMSF), there are no safeguards to reduce the threat of self-review to an acceptably low level. The only option would be to withdraw from administration or audit engagement.
There are safeguards which apply when accounting services of a routine or mechanical nature are provided. Such services may include the posting of transactions and entries approved by the SMSF, or the preparation of the financial report based on a trial balance which has been provided by the SMSF. These safeguards include:
• Implementing procedures and policies which stop an individual providing such services from making managerial decisions for the SMSF.
• Making arrangements so that routine accounting services are not performed by a member of the auditing team.
• Requiring the source of data for accounting entries to be originated by the SMSF .
• Requiring underlying assumptions to be approved and originated by the SMSF.
• Obtaining the approval of the SMSF for any journal entries or other changes which may affect the financial report.
• Obtaining the acknowledgement of the SMSF of their responsibility for any accounting work performed by the firm.
• Disclosing the firm’s involvement in both engagements to the trustees.
Generally, a threat to independence is not created by providing taxation services to an SMSF which is also an audit client.
Timing of auditor appointment
Trustees are required to appoint an auditor at least 30 days prior to the date on which the auditor’s report is due.
Audit engagement letters should clearly set out the reporting responsibilities of the auditor for both components of the audit.