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Selection of audit team members

 

Selecting audit team members is an important part of the preparation stage.

The overall responsibility for the selection of team members rests with the audit team leader. However, the audit team as a whole should be part of the process of evaluating the combined skills and experience of the team and whether they are appropriate to perform the engagement.

As per the requirements of Division 2.2 of the NGER Audit Determination, the audit team leader must ensure that the members of the audit team have between them the knowledge, skills and availability required to satisfactorily prepare for and carry out the audit and prepare the audit report.

In order to cover the necessary skills and expertise, audit teams are typically multidisciplinary and may include assurance practitioners, engineers, environmental scientists and financial, legal or corporate experts.

Where significant deficiencies in skills or experience are identified, and cannot be rectified through internal resourcing, the audit team may need to invite an expert from outside its organisation into the team. The expert is then part of the audit team and bound by the same requirements as the other audit team members under the NGER Audit Determination.

The audit team leader will need to consider whether the team has sufficient supporting resources—such as time, equipment and access to management and key personnel—to complete the engagement.

NGER regulation 6.50 requires that experts brought into the team are included as professional members of the audit team, and therefore bound by the same requirements as other professional members of the audit team.

4.1.1 Using audit team members with specialist expertise

For some engagements with complex areas, it may be necessary for the audit team leader to bring an external expert into the audit team. To determine if an expert is required, the audit team leader could consider1:

  • the audit team’s knowledge and experience of the matter being audited—the lower the level of knowledge and experience, the higher the likelihood that an expert may be required in the team
  • the risk of material misstatement due to the nature, complexity and significance of the matter being considered—the greater the risk, the higher the likelihood that an expert may be required in the team, or
  • the quantity and quality of other assurance evidence expected to be obtained—the lower the amount of evidence available, the higher the likelihood that an expert may be required in the team.

For example, an expert may be required in situations where the audit team needs to understand and evaluate:

  • a complex direct measurement method developed by the audited body to measure its emissions or other information, or
  • legal opinions obtained or prepared by the audited body concerning the interpretation of key regulatory requirements or terms such as operational control, process flow diagrams or methods under the Emissions Reduction Fund.

If the audit team leader does plan to bring an expert into the audit team, they should:

  • evaluate the professional competence and objectivity of the expert
  • obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence that the assurance procedures the expert will perform are appropriate and address the assurance risks identified, and
  • ensure the audit team collectively (that is, including the expert) obtains sufficient, appropriate evidence to support the conclusions made by the expert (this may be an area in which the expert requires guidance from other members of the audit team, as they may not be accustomed to performing audits).

It is important to note that while it is at the audit team leader’s discretion to determine how the expert will be selected or hired, when the expert is brought into the audit team, under the NGER Regulations they are a full member of the team and are therefore subject to the same independence, quality control and conflict of interest situation requirements as the other audit team members.

Footnotes

1 These considerations and other requirements within this section have been developed with reference to ASA 620 Using the Work of an Auditor’s Expert.

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