Brussels, 11 September 2009
Statutory Audit: Commission proposes cooperation on the exchange of audit working papers between Member States and Canada, Japan and Switzerland
The European Commission will today table a draft decision to allow Member States to exchange audit working papers with Canada, Japan and Switzerland by recognising the adequacy of the competent authorities from these countries under the Statutory Audit Directive. Adequacy refers to the ability of a third country authority to fulfil the requirements set out in Article 47 of the Statutory Audit Directive, and, in particular, its capacity to enter into reciprocal working arrangements with Member States' auditor oversight bodies on the exchange of audit working papers or other relevant documents between competent authorities, and to preserve the confidentiality of any such documents that it may receive from EU Member States.
The Statutory Audit Directive 1 introduces a system of independent public auditor oversight and a model of cooperation with third countries. As auditing has long moved beyond national borders, international cooperation is necessary to ensure that high quality audits are carried out worldwide.
The Commission is committed to close cooperation on auditor oversight with its main trading partners. Canada, Japan and Switzerland have indicated their openness to cooperate with EU Member States on the exchange of audit working papers. These third countries also have the necessary legal framework in place which would enable such cooperation. Therefore, the Commission is now tabling a proposal to allow Member States' auditor oversight bodies to exchange audit working papers with their counterparts from Canada, Japan and Switzerland, upon the signature of working arrangements.
The United States also seems open towards cooperation with the Member States on the exchange of audit working papers, but it does not have yet established the necessary legal mechanism allowing for mutual exchange of audit working papers. The Commission will also include the competent authorities from the United States in the current proposal, should the United States put in place the necessary framework allowing for mutual exchange of audit working papers with the EU public oversight bodies before the vote on this measure.
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Directive 2006/43 of 17 May 2006 on statutory audits of annual accounts and consolidated accounts.
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