AUASB issues an Updated Version of AUASB Guidance Statement GS 023 to support Public Sector Auditors in applying Auditing Standard ASA 220

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

The AUASB has released an updated version of Guidance Statement GS 023 Special Considerations – Public Sector Engagements, which includes additional explanatory and application material to support public sector auditors in applying Auditing Standard ASA 220 Quality Management for an Audit of a Financial Report and Other Historical Financial Information to public sector engagements.  GS 023 is to be read and applied together with ASA 220.

GS 023 was initially issued by the AUASB in December 2021 to promote consistent application of AUASB Standards in the public sector and enhance the quality of public sector audits and assurance engagements. GS 023 has been designed to be incrementally updated to include topic specific guidance material in response to issues identified in applying AUASB Standards in the public sector.

The updated GS 023 provides supplementary guidance to apply the ASA 220 concept of ‘Engagement Partner’ in the public sector context. Challenges may arise in relation to some aspects of ASA 220 in the public sector when the individual with day-to-day responsibility for leading an audit engagement (the ‘engagement leader’ in practice), is not also the individual responsible for signing and issuing the Auditor’s Report.  The updated GS provides further guidance to clarify the roles and responsibilities of these individuals for managing and achieving quality at the engagement level.

The new guidance is intended to support Auditor-General’s Offices to work within any delegation or authorisation clauses provided within their specific legislation to establish policies or procedures that would set out how the individual signing the Auditor’s Report will obtain the necessary internal assurance that the objectives of ASA 220 relating to quality management at the engagement level has been achieved.

The new guidance has been developed in consultation with a dedicated AUASB Public Sector Audit Issues Project Advisory Group comprising of assurance practitioners representing all State, Territory and Commonwealth Auditor-Generals’ Offices in Australia.

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