Terms of Engagement

AU-C Section 210: Terms of Engagement

 

This section addresses the auditor’s responsibilities in agreeing upon the terms of the audit engagement with management and, when appropriate, those charged with governance.

 
 
 
 
 
AU-C Section 210.01-03: Terms of Engagement (Scope and Objectives)
 
 

"Scope of This Section

.01 This section addresses the auditor's responsibilities in agreeing upon the terms of the audit engagement with management and, when appropriate, those charged with governance. This includes establishing that certain preconditions for an audit, for which management and, when appropriate, those charged with governance are responsible, are present. Section 220, Quality Control for an Engagement Conducted in Accordance With Generally Accepted Auditing Standards, addresses those aspects of engagement acceptance that are within the control of the auditor. (Ref: par. .A1)

Effective Date

.02 This section is effective for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2012.

Objective

.03 The objective of the auditor is to accept an audit engagement for a new or existing audit client only when the basis upon which it is to be performed has been agreed upon through establishing whether the preconditions for an audit are present and confirming that a common understanding of the terms of the audit engagement exists between the auditor and management and, when appropriate, those charged with governance."

 
 
 
 
AU-C Section 210.06: The Preconditions for an Audit
 
 

"Preconditions for an Audit

.06 In order to establish whether the preconditions for an audit are present, the auditor should

  • determine whether the financial reporting framework to be applied in the preparation of the financial statements is acceptable and (Ref: par. .A2–.A8)

  • obtain the agreement of management that it acknowledges and understands its responsibility (Ref: par. .A9–.A12 and .A17)

    • for the preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements in accordance with the applicable financial reporting framework; (Ref: par. .A13)

    • for the design, implementation, and maintenance of internal control relevant to the preparation and fair presentation of financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error; and (Ref: par. .A14–.A16)

    • to provide the auditor with

      • access to all information of which management is aware that is relevant to the preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements, such as records, documentation, and other matters;

      • additional information that the auditor may request from management for the purpose of the audit; and

      • unrestricted access to persons within the entity from whom the auditor determines it necessary to obtain audit evidence."

 
 
 
 
AU-C Section 210.07: Management-Imposed Scope Limitation
 
 

".07 If management or those charged with governance of an entity that is not required by law or regulation to have an audit impose a limitation on the scope of the auditor's work in the terms of a proposed audit engagement, such that the auditor believes the limitation will result in the auditor disclaiming an opinion on the financial statements as a whole, the auditor should not accept such a limited engagement as an audit engagement. If management or those charged with governance of an entity that is required by law or regulation to have an audit imposes such a scope limitation and a disclaimer of opinion is acceptable under the applicable law or to the regulator, the auditor is permitted, but not required, to accept the engagement."

 
 
 
 
AU-C Section 210.09-10: Agreement on Audit Engagement Terms
 
 

".09 The auditor should agree upon the terms of the audit engagement with management or those charged with governance, as appropriate. (Ref: par. .A20–.A21)

.10 The agreed-upon terms of the audit engagement should be documented in an audit engagement letter or other suitable form of written agreement and should include the following: (Ref: par. .A22–.A26)

  1. The objective and scope of the audit of the financial statements

  2. The responsibilities of the auditor

  3. The responsibilities of management

  4. A statement that because of the inherent limitations of an audit, together with the inherent limitations of internal control, an unavoidable risk exists that some material misstatements may not be detected, even though the audit is properly planned and performed in accordance with GAAS

  5. Identification of the applicable financial reporting framework for the preparation of the financial statements

  6. Reference to the expected form and content of any reports to be issued by the auditor and a statement that circumstances may arise in which a report may differ from its expected form and content."

 
 
 
 
AU-C Section 210.11-12: Initial Audits
 
 

".11 Before accepting an engagement for an initial audit, including a reaudit engagement, the auditor should request management to authorize the predecessor auditor to respond fully to the auditor's inquiries regarding matters that will assist the auditor in determining whether to accept the engagement. If management refuses to authorize the predecessor auditor to respond, or limits the response, the auditor should inquire about the reasons and consider the implications of that refusal in deciding whether to accept the engagement.

.12 The auditor should evaluate the predecessor auditor's response, or consider the implications if the predecessor auditor provides no response or a limited response, in determining whether to accept the engagement."

 
 
 
 
AU-C Section 210.13: Recurring Audits
 
 

".13 On recurring audits, the auditor should assess whether circumstances require the terms of the audit engagement to be revised. If the auditor concludes that the terms of the preceding engagement need not be revised for the current engagement, the auditor should remind management of the terms of the engagement, and the reminder should be documented."

 
 
 
 
AU-C Section 210.14-17: Change in Terms of Engagement
 
 

".14 The auditor should not agree to a change in the terms of the audit engagement when no reasonable justification for doing so exists. (Ref: par. .A35– .A37)

.15 If, prior to completing the audit engagement, the auditor is requested to change the audit engagement to an engagement for which the auditor obtains a lower level of assurance, the auditor should determine whether reasonable justification for doing so exists. (Ref: par. .A38–.A39)

.16 If the terms of the audit engagement are changed, the auditor and management should agree on and document the new terms of the engagement in an engagement letter or other suitable form of written agreement.

.17 If the auditor concludes that no reasonable justification for a change of the terms of the audit engagement exists and is not permitted by management to continue the original audit engagement, the auditor should

  1. withdraw from the audit engagement when possible under applicable law or regulation,

  2. communicate the circumstances to those charged with governance, and

  3. determine whether any obligation, either legal, contractual, or otherwise, exists to report the circumstances to other parties, such as owners, or regulators."

 
 
 
 
AU-C Section 210.18: Auditor's Report Prescribed by Law or Regulation
 
 

".18 If law or regulation prescribes a specific layout, form, or wording of the auditor's report that significantly differs from the requirements of GAAS, the auditor should evaluate

  1. whether users might misunderstand the auditor's report and, if so,

  2. whether the auditor would be permitted to reword the prescribed form to be in accordance with the requirements of GAAS or attach a separate report.

If the auditor determines that rewording the prescribed form or attaching a separate report would not be permitted or would not mitigate the risk of users misunderstanding the auditor's report, the auditor should not accept the audit engagement unless the auditor is required by law or regulation to do so. An audit performed in accordance with such law or regulation does not comply with GAAS. Accordingly, for such an audit, the auditor should not include any reference to the audit having been performed in accordance with GAAS within the auditor's report."