ICAI advisory for Statutory Bank Branch Auditors Specific Considerations while conducting Distance Audit / Remote Audit / Online Audit of Bank Branch under current Covid-19 situation
ICAI has issued an advisory to its Chartered Accountants with illustrative list of considerations to be followed kept in mind for undertaking Statutory Bank Branch Audit via Distance / Remote / Online means.
Specific Considerations while conducting Distance Audit / Remote Audit / Online Audit of Bank Branch under current Covid-19 situation:
1. There is no dilution (in any form) of Standards on Auditing and / or any other mandatory guidelines issued by ICAI.
2. The following steps should be taken by the auditor on receipt of appointment letter for statutory bank audit:
a. Accepting the appointment as branch auditors;
b. Planning and making available requisite staff for conducting branch audits allotted ;
c. Communication with previous auditors via email (instead of by registered post as permitted by ESB advisory);
d. Use illustrative format of the PDC to communicate with the branches allotted;
3. To enquire and adopt the SOPs adopted by the bank under Covid-19 situation and strictly comply with the government regulatory guidelines issued.
4.The audit firm can opt for all the communications by email instead of physical mode wherever necessary and it is suggested that all the communications are initiated by the audit firm from a designated single email-id which will enable the firm to keep a tab on all the communications with the bank officials at the respective branches under audit. Further, the firm may consider to number such communications in chronological order for having better controls;
5. The audit firm can request the bank to provide the data / documents required for the purpose of conducting the audit in soft copy format at mutual convenience of the auditor and auditee. The audit firm will ensure strict compliance with the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) terms with regards to such data / documents received and will ensure confidentiality of the data / documents;
6. In view of the present lockdown and government advisory, the audit firms are advised to co-ordinate with the concerned bank officials for necessary arrangements for movement and safety of staff of audit firm within and outside of red zone, depending on location of auditor and the branch;
7. The audit firm can ask the respective bank to provide an access for staff / partners at the nearest branch so as to enable to have delegation of work amongst them;
8. On non-availability of requisite files / documents at the branch, the audit firm may request either for arrangement of visit to Central Processing Cells (CPCs) or to make the files maintained at CPCs available at the branch;
9. An audit firm can seek support from the branches in following forms:
a. Ensure that the requisite bank officials are present at the branches who are able to give required information and explanations to the auditor;
b. Request the branch officials, that the branches to be kept open for entire day along with availability of CBS as per the requirements of the audit firm;
10. Where sufficient appropriate audit evidence is not available, if need be, an auditor may include Emphasis of Matter / Key Audit Matters / Scope Limitations / Disclaimer of opinion, etc. in the audit report / certificates;
12. Auditors may also use the facility “Online Panel of Experts for answering the queries of Bank Branch Auditors” of ICAI for responding queries related to statutory bank branch audit.
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