SAS No. 29 Consideration of Laws and Regulations in an Audit of Financial Statements     

Status

Issued by Auditing Standards Committee in Taiwan on 25 June, 1996.

Summary

When designing and performing audit procedures and in evaluating and reporting the results thereof, the auditor should recognize that noncompliance by the entity with laws and regulations may materially affect the financial statements. However, an audit cannot be expected to detect noncompliance with all laws and regulations. Detection of noncompliance, regardless of materiality, requires consideration of the implications for the integrity of management or employees and the possible effect on other aspects of the audit.

The auditor should plan and perform the audit with an attitude of professional skepticism recognizing that the audit may reveal conditions or events that would lead to questioning whether an entity is complying with laws and regulations. In order to plan the audit, the auditor should obtain a general understanding of the legal and regulatory framework applicable to the entity and the industry and how the entity is complying with that framework.

After obtaining the general understanding, the auditor should perform further audit procedures to help identify instances of noncompliance with those laws and regulations where noncompliance should be considered when preparing financial statements, specifically:

  • Inquiring of management as to whether the entity is in compliance with such laws and regulations; and
  • Inspecting correspondence with the relevant licensing or regulatory authorities.

Further, the auditor should obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence about compliance with those laws and regulations generally recognized by the auditor to have an effect on the determination of material amounts and disclosures in financial statements. The auditor should have a sufficient understanding of these laws and regulations in order to consider them when auditing the assertions related to the determination of the amounts to be recorded and the disclosures to be made.

The auditor should be alert to the fact that audit procedures applied for the purpose of forming an opinion on the financial statements may bring instances of possible noncompliance with laws and regulations to the auditor’s attention.

The auditor should obtain written representations that management has disclosed to the auditor all known actual or possible noncompliance with laws and regulations whose effects should be considered when preparing financial statements.    

When the auditor becomes aware of information concerning a possible instance of noncompliance, the auditor should obtain an understanding of the nature of the act and the circumstances in which it has occurred, and sufficient other information to evaluate the possible effect on the financial statements.  

When the auditor believes there may be noncompliance, the auditor should document the findings and discuss them with management.    

When adequate information about the suspected noncompliance cannot be obtained, the auditor should consider the effect of the lack of sufficient appropriate audit evidence on the auditor’s report.

The auditor should consider the implications of noncompliance in relation to other aspects of the audit, particularly the reliability of management representations.   

The auditor should, as soon as practicable, either communicate with those charged with governance, or obtain audit evidence that they are appropriately informed, regarding noncompliance that comes to the auditor’s attention.

If in the auditor’s judgment the noncompliance is believed to be intentional and material, the auditor should communicate the finding without delay. 

If the auditor suspects that members of senior management, including members of the board of directors, are involved in noncompliance, the auditor should report the matter to the next higher level of authority at the entity, if it exists, such as the board of directors or a supervisory board.  

If the auditor concludes that the noncompliance has a material effect on the financial statements, and has not been properly reflected in the financial statements, the auditor should express a qualified or an adverse opinion.     

If the auditor is precluded by the entity from obtaining sufficient appropriate audit evidence to evaluate whether noncompliance that may be material to the financial statements, has, or is likely to have, occurred, the auditor should express a qualified opinion or a disclaimer of opinion on the financial statements on the basis of a limitation on the scope of the audit.     

The auditor’s duty of confidentiality would ordinarily preclude reporting noncompliance to a third party. 

The auditor may conclude that withdrawal from the engagement is necessary when the entity does not take the remedial action that the auditor considers necessary in the circumstances, even when the noncompliance is not material to the financial statements.

Effective date

This Statement is effective for audit of financial statements with fiscal years ending on or after 31 December, 1996.

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