An effective relationship businesses and stakeholders is driven by the confidence of each other. Using assurance providers service will, if reasonable, strength this relationship. However, their role is sometimes not clear for the stakeholders. The term assurance, its benefits to businesses, how independence is maintain and the effect of the ISA 700 revision on the expectation gap will be the four focus points of this report
In an assurance engagement, the practitioner expresses a conclusion designed to enhance the intended users’ degree of confidence about the outcome of an evaluation of measurement of a subject matter against specified criteria (ICAEW, 2013). In addition, the key elements of an assurance engagement are: a three party relationship (the practitioner, the intended users, the responsible party), a subject matter (data, systems or processes, behaviour), suitable criteria, sufficient appropriate evidence to support the assurance opinion and an assurance report (ICAEW, 2013).
Moreover, the definition given above is issued by the IFAC whose objective is to protect the public interest; therefore, to incite higher quality it has introduced two types of assurance engagement (ICAEW, 2013):
- Reasonable assurance: A high level of assurance, in which the auditor will express a conclusion designed to enhance the degree of confidence of the intended users of the financial statements, that engagement risk has been reduced to an acceptably low level, as the basis for a conclusion to be expressed positively.
- Limited assurance: the objective of a limited assurance engagement is a reduction in assurance engagement risk to a level that is acceptable in the circumstances of the engagement, which then allows a negative form of expression of the practitioner’s conclusion.
The reason that there are two types of assurance engagement is that the level of assurance that can be given depends on the evidence that can be obtained by the practitioner, for example, when there is a small amount of work carried out on a subject matter and no errors were discovered, the omission of errors or inaccuracies is likely to happen; therefore, less reliance should be placed on a negative assurance because of a low level of evidence. Moreover, the difference can be also recognised with the type of opinion given which can be expressed positively and negatively, as seen previously (ICAEW, 2013).
This level of assurance can be assured for different types of assurance engagements such as value for money studies, circulation reports (magazines), due diligence, and so on. Focusing on the audit engagements, two types of audits can be distinguished (excluding the specialised audits):
- Internal audit and other types of assurance services
- The statutory audit, which is the most important type of assurance service in the UK.
Statutory audits are a legal requirement that companies over a definite size have an audit. Independent auditors who check the financial statements on behalf...