The Companies (Auditing and Accounting) Act 2003 (‘the Act’), established IAASA and anticipated the requirement in the Statutory Audits Directive of 2006 for EU Member States to establish a public oversight body for statutory auditors and audit firms.
The First Report of the Dáíl Public Accounts Committee’s Parliamentary Inquiry into Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) in 1999 recommended the establishment of a Review Group to examine matters in relation to the auditing profession. The Group's Report, published the following year, made 80 recommendations of which the most important was that there should be an independent Public Oversight Body for the accounting and auditing profession.
The Companies (Auditing and Accounting) Act 2003, which gave effect to those recommendations, established IAASA and anticipated the requirement in the Statutory Audits Directive of 2006 for EU Member States to establish a public oversight body for statutory auditors and audit firms. IAASA was conferred with the majority of its statutory functions and powers under the 2003 Act in early 2006.
It was subsequently conferred with additional functions in the area of financial reporting supervision under the Transparency (Directive 2004/109/EC) Regulations 2007 (‘the Transparency Regulations’). It was also conferred significant additional functions and responsibilities in the area of audits by the EC (Statutory Audits) (Directive 2006/43/EC) Regulations 2010 (‘Statutory Audit Directive Regulations’) (SI No 220 of 2010) and the European Union (Statutory Audits) (Directive 2006/43/EC, as amended by Directive 2014/56/EU, and Regulation (EU) No 537/2014) Regulations 2016 (SI No 312 of 2016).
IAASA continues its work under the Companies Act 2014.
Under the Companies Act 2014, the Transparency Regulations and the Audit Regulations, IAASA has seven primary functions:
- Supervision of how the Prescribed Accountancy Bodies (PABs) regulate and monitor their members;
- Monitoring of the periodic financial reporting of certain entities whose securities have been admitted to trading on a regulated market in the EU;
- Carrying out certain functions in respect of liquidators;
- Promotion of adherence to high professional standards in the auditing and accountancy profession;
- Acting as a specialist source of advice to the Minister for Jobs, Business Enterprise and Innovation on auditing and accounting matters;
- External quality assurance of the auditors of listed companies, credit institutions and insurance undertakings to ensure a high quality of audit; and
- Adoption and maintenance of the audit framework for Ireland.
IAASA is responsible for the supervision of the accounting profession in Ireland, comprising of members of Prescribed Accountancy Bodies (‘PABs’) in business and practice in the State.
IAASA is the competent authority for the oversight of statutory auditors in Ireland, including oversight of the manner in which the six Recognised Accountancy Bodies (‘RABs’) perform the functions assigned to them in law in respect of statutory auditors, namely approval and registration, continuing education, quality assurance systems and investigative and administrative disciplinary systems.
In addition, IAASA has direct responsibility for the inspection of audits of Public Interest Entities (‘PIEs’), comprising of entities with securities listed on a regulated market, credit institutions and insurance undertakings. IAASA directly regulate ten auditing and accounting firms, in respect of this element of their work.
IAASA is also responsible for the registration and supervision of third country auditors i.e. auditors of companies incorporated in a country outside the EU that are listed on a regulated market in Ireland.
Further information on IAASA can be obtained by visiting the website www.IAASA.ie