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(New York, October 1, 2008)

The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) today issued a policy position titled IFAC's Support for a Single Set of Auditing Standards: Implications for Audits of Small and Medium-sized Entities. The paper sets out IFAC's view that International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) are designed to be applicable to audits of financial statements of entities of all sizes, and highlights the ways in which the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) considers the needs and perspectives of small- and medium-sized entities (SMEs) in the development of those standards.

The paper emphasizes that the consistent use of the ISAs is essential to meeting the public interest expectations of an audit. If auditors intend to issue an ISA audit report, they must comply with the ISAs. This enables a consistent level of assurance to be associated with the word "audit," and allows users to make decisions in the light of a common understanding about the reliability of financial statements. The paper also emphasizes the importance of professional judgment in determining the most effective approach for a particular audit.

The paper points out that SMEs have an alternative to obtaining an audit; they may obtain a review of their financial statements. International Standard on Review Engagements 2400, Engagements to Review Financial Statements, requires a different level of work effort by the practitioner and results in a different and lower level of assurance. The IAASB will be considering changes to this standard in light of the current needs of the marketplace. A new consultation paper, commissioned by the IAASB and developed by staff of several national auditing standard setters, seeks input on the elements that would provide a relevant and cost-effective assurance service that is an alternative to an audit for SMEs in particular. IFAC encourages the broader accountancy community to assist the work of the IAASB by responding to this consultation paper.*

All IFAC policy positions may be downloaded from the IFAC website by going to http://www.ifac.org/Store/.

About IFAC
IFAC (http://www.ifac.org/) is the global organization for the accountancy profession dedicated to serving the public interest by strengthening the profession and contributing to the development of strong international economies. IFAC is comprised of 157 members and associates in 123 countries and jurisdictions, representing more than 2.5 million accountants in public practice, education, government service, industry and commerce. The organization, through its independent standard-setting boards, sets international ethics, auditing and assurance, education, and public sector accounting standards. IFAC also issues guidance to encourage high quality performance by professional accountants in business.

*The Consultation Paper, Matters to Consider in a Revision of International Standard on Review Engagements 2400, Engagements to Review Financial Statements, can be accessed at http://www.ifac.org/ED.

Jennifer DiClerico
Head of Communications

Prepared by IFAC's Communications Department. Contact communications@ifac.org for further information.
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