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Qualifications of persons responsible for carrying out the statutory audits of accounting documents: eighth Directive

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1) OBJECTIVE

To complete the series of Directives concerning company accounts, defining the qualifications of persons responsible for carrying out the statutory audits of the accounting documents required by the fourth and seventh Directives.

2) ACT

Eighth Council Directive 84/253/EEC of 10 April 1984 based on Article 54(3)(g) of the Treaty on the approval of persons responsible for carrying out the statutory audits of accounting documents [Official Journal L 126 of 12.5.1984].

3) SUMMARY

Persons responsible for carrying out audits of accounting documents may, depending on the law of each Member State, be natural or legal persons or other types of company, firm or partnership.

The Directive applies to persons responsible for carrying out:

  • statutory audits of the annual accounts of companies and firms and verifying that the annual reports are consistent with those annual accounts in so far as such audits and such verification are required by Community law;
  • statutory audits of the consolidated accounts of bodies of undertakings and verifying that the consolidated annual reports are consistent with those consolidated accounts in so far as such audits and such verification are required by Community law.

Persons responsible for carrying out audits of accounting documents must be of good repute and may not engage in any activity incompatible with the auditing of such documents.

A natural person may be approved to carry out statutory audits of accounting documents only after:

  • having attained university entrance level;
  • completed a course of theoretical instruction;
  • undergone practical training; and
  • passed an examination of professional competence of university, final examination level organized or recognized by the State.

Member States may nevertheless approve persons who do not satisfy some of the above conditions if those persons can show either:

  • that they have, for 15 years, engaged in professional activities which have enabled them to acquire sufficient experience in the fields of finance, law and accountancy and have passed the examination of professional competence;
  • that they have, for seven years, engaged in professional activities in those fields and have, in addition, undergone practical training and passed the examination of professional competence.

Member States must ensure that approved persons are liable to appropriate sanctions if they do not carry out audits honestly and independently.

Member States must ensure that the names and addresses of all natural persons and firms of auditors approved by them to carry out statutory audits of accounting documents are made available to the public.

ActDate
of entry into force
Final date for implementation in the Member States
Directive 84/253/EEC13.04.198401.01.1990

4) IMPLEMENTING MEASURES

5) FOLLOW-UP WORK

On 21 May 2003 the Commission adopted a communication on reinforcing the statutory audit in the European Union [COM(2003)286 - Not published in the Official Journal].

Noting the progress made with regard to financial information, statutory audit, corporate governance and securities markets, the Commission, via this communication, would like to press ahead with its efforts and to set out its vision of a modern regulatory framework for statutory audits in the European Union and the new initiatives envisaged in this connection. Basically, these initiatives consist in: modernising the Eighth Company Law Directive; strengthening the regulatory framework in the European Union; reinforcing at Community level public oversight of the audit profession; imposing the use of International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) for statutory audits in the European Union as of 2005; improving the systems of disciplinary sanctions; establishing the transparency of audit firms and networks of such firms; as regards corporate governance, reinforcing audit committees and internal control; strengthening auditor independence and introducing a code of ethics; facilitating the establishment of audit firms and examining auditor liability.

Last updated: 06.08.2003
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