Updated: Jul 31, 2022
Auditors are required to maintain their independence at all times, as this is one of the fundamental principles underlying the auditing process. According to the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA), there are basically two aspects of independence:
independence of mind; and
independence in appearance
Independence of Mind | 实质上的独立性
According to IESBA,
‘… enables the auditor to form an opinion without being affected by influences that would compromise the auditor's professional judgement. Independence of mind will allow the auditor to act with integrity and exercise objectivity at all times during the course of the audit. Independence of mind will also allow the auditor to act with professional skepticism.’
根据 IESBA 的规定：
Independence in Appearance | 形式上的独立性
According to IESBA,
…is achieved when the auditor avoids facts and circumstances that are so significant that a reasonable and informed third party would conclude that the auditor's integrity, objectivity and professional scepticism has been compromised.’
形式上的独立性是一种外在表现，使得一个理性且掌握充分信息的第三方，在权衡所有相关事实和情况后， 认为会计师事务所或审计项目团队成员没有损害诚信原则、客观公正 原则或职业怀疑。
Any risks to the auditor's ability to act independently and objectively must be eliminated entirely or mitigated to an extent that is deemed acceptable. The auditor is also obligated to ensure that adequate safeguards are put in place to mitigate threats to the auditor's independence and objectivity whenever they discover such threats.
This requirement arises when the auditor identifies a threat to the auditor's independence and objectivity.
If the auditor comes to the conclusion that there are no safeguards that can be put in place, or if the safeguards that are available to the auditor will not reduce the threat to an acceptable level, then the auditor must either resign from the audit assignment or decline the invitation to be the entity's auditor.
Threats to independence can arise in the following circumstances (note this list is not exhaustive):
The personal interest of the auditor: the auditor may be concerned about losing the audit fee.
Intimidation: Auditors may be intimidated by dominant or aggressive management.
Lengthy relationship: because the auditor has a long history of working with the client, they have developed an excessive amount of sympathy for the customer.
Providing non-audit services: which results in the auditor having to prepare and then audit their own work.