International auditing standards in the United States : comparing and understanding standards for ISA and PCAOB
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International Standards on Auditing (ISA) are standards or guidelines that auditors follow when conducting a financial audit of a companys financial statements in those jurisdictions that have adopted ISAs or some version of ISAs. These standards are issued by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) through the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB). ISA covers a wide variety of ground. It designates specific responsibilities of an auditor including how to plan an audit, how to evaluate and conclude on the adequacies of internal controls, how to evaluate audit evidence and draw conclusions from it and how to write an audit report. These are just some of the designated responsibilities among a wide range of auditing requirements. The USA, on the other hand, has its own auditing standards: the so-called Generally Accepted Auditing Standards (GAAS) set forth by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants for use in private company audits, and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), standards which apply to the audits of publicly-owned corporations. The problem for both practitioners and students is that the auditing principles of the ISA and the AICPA are not identical, even though they are moving towards convergence, or at least attempting to do so. That said, the standards of the ISA and AICPA still differ, and this problem is compounded because of the significant differences between the standards of ISA and PCAOB. In fact a study commissioned by the European Community found at least five areas where there are substantial differences.
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