Audit regulation in NZ

What you need to know before performing a regulated audit in New Zealand

In Brief

  • You must be a licensed or qualified auditor to perform a regulated audit. NZ members can apply directly to us, and members from other locations can apply to the Financial Markets Authority or Companies Office.
  • The licensing regime is the upper tier regulation for FMC audits such as listed companies, banks and issuers.
  • The qualified auditor regime is for other regulated audits such as companies and larger charities.
  • Where audits are performed through a firm the firm may also need to be registered.

Licensing regime for FMC audits

  • Who needs to apply?

    All firms undertaking FMC audits need to be registered and each engagement partner and engagement quality control reviewer (EQCR) must hold a licence under the Auditor Regulation Act 2011 (ARA).

    FMC audits include audits of FMC reporting entities such as listed companies, banks and insurers. The term FMC audit is defined in 6(1) ARA.

    FMC reporting entities are defined in section 6(1) of the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013.

    If you hold a licence under the ARA you are automatically recognised as a qualified auditor and can perform all other regulated audits.

    Registered audit firms may be structured as limited companies or partnerships.

    Need to know

    The FMA set out the minimum requirements for full auditor licensing and audit firm registration.

    View the Prescribed Minimum Standards

    View the public register of licensed auditors and audit firms
  • How to apply

    New Zealand resident members

    As a regulatory body in New Zealand, we’re responsible for issuing licenses to New Zealand resident members who perform FMC audits and registering their firms.

    New Zealand resident members should apply using the forms below.

    All forms include a comprehensive guide to step you through the process and details of fees on application.

    All other members

    All other members performing FMC audits need to apply directly to FMA for an auditor licence.

    Go to the FMA website
  • Validity of Auditor Licences and Firm Registration

    Audit firm registrations do not expire.

    Auditor licences are issued for up to 5 years. Once your licence has been approved, you will receive a letter and this constitutes your licence.

    The letter will specify the expiry date and the obligations and conditions placed on your licence.

    Registered firms and licensed auditors must comply with standard conditions and any special conditions that have been imposed. The standard conditions include continuous disclosure requirements.

Ministry of Justice information

You are also required to submit a Criminal Convictions Record and, if applicable, overseas police clearance certificate to obtain an auditor licence.

Visit Ministry of Justice

Ongoing requirements for licensed auditors and registered audit firms

  • Continuous disclosure requirements

    All auditor licences and firm registrations issued by NZICA are subject to standard conditions.

    These include a requirement to notify us of changes in details and other matters relevant to our monitoring activities of auditors and firms e.g. audits undertaken (“continuous disclosure”).

    Additional Guidance

    Guidance on information disclosure requirements for licensed auditors and registered firms.

    Read more

    Keep us informed

    Individual licensed auditors must notify us of the following changes:

    • Leaving or joining an audit firm;
    • Becoming or ceasing to be a partner in an audit firm;
    • Any changes required to the information in the public register (name, and contact details etc.);
    • Any issue that may affect fit and proper status; and
    • Any disciplinary action by any professional body
    • Although the obligation falls on individual licence holders we would expect that disclosures would be co-ordinated through the firm.

    Registered firms must notify us of the following information:

    • Any changes required to the information in the public register (name, and contact details etc.);
    • FMC audits that have been accepted or resigned;
    • FMC audits the firm has been asked to accept or bid for where the firm has declined;
    • Other changes in the FMC audits including changes in engagement partner and/or EQCR;
    • Significant changes in the terms or amount of professional indemnity insurance cover held in respect of FMC audit work, including any FMC audits for which cover has been denied or provided subject to conditions;
    • Partners joining or leaving the audit firm (including non-audit partners);
    • Any matter which may impact on the fit and proper status of any partner (including non-audit partners);
    • Details of any significant adverse findings of internal or external reviews of the firm’s audit practice including steps taken to implement any recommendations together with an explanation where recommendations have not been actioned.

    Get in touch

    Disclosures can be submitted online by completing our contact form.

    Contact us
  • Quality Reviews

    Registered audit firms and licensed auditors are subject to a quality review under Section 65 ARA at least once in every four year period. The reviews are performed by FMA.

    FMA may ask us to perform a review of one or more audits under the investigation powers of Section 75 ARA.

    Learn more

    Access the Auditor Regulation Act online.

    Section 65 ARA Section 75 ARA
  • Continuing Professional Development

    Licensed auditors need to comply with our CPD policy as well as the requirements prescribed by FMA under Section 18 ARA.

    Our policy incorporates the requirements of International Education Standard IES 8 (an output based education model).

  • Monitoring compliance by licensed auditors and registered firms

    We monitor the compliance of New Zealand members with the following on an ongoing basis:

    • compliance with the FMA Prescribed Minimum Standards
    • compliance with standard conditions and any special conditions applicable to the firm/auditor
    • outcome of FMA Quality Reviews
    • prompt payment of all applicable fees and levies
    • adequacy of professional indemnity insurance
    • compliance with CPD rules
    • other matters identified through monitoring

    Licensed auditors and registered firms need to complete an annual survey.

  • Ongoing Annual Fees

    Licensed auditors fee: $NZ 3,100 (incl GST).

    Registered audit firm fee: $NZ 110.00 (incl GST).

    Fees are invoiced by NZICA annually in June. All money collected is passed on to Companies Office.

  • Voluntary cancellation of an auditor licence

    If you wish to voluntarily cancel your licence under section s20(1)(a) of the ARA follow the instructions below.

    Cancel your licence

    Please download the template below and return to us.

    Download templateSubmit form

Qualified Auditor Recognition

  • Who needs to apply

    All members who undertake statutory assurance engagements in New Zealand who do not hold an auditor licence need to be recognised as a qualified auditor (S 36 Financial Reporting Act 2013).

    If you choose to structure your audit firm as a limited company, you need to ensure that the company is recognised as a qualified auditor. In addition, the engagement director signing each audit report in the company name must be a qualified auditor.

    Audit firms structured as partnerships do not require separate recognition. Such firms may perform audits provided the engagement partner is a qualified auditor.

    Statutory assurance engagements include audits of companies (unless eligible to opt out) and larger charities.

    More information

    More information on what a statutory assurance engagement is can be downloaded.

    If you hold a current licence under the ARA, you are automatically considered to be a qualified auditor and do not need separate recognition. However, if you are a licensed auditor based in New Zealand and would like to be included as a qualified auditor on our public register you will need to submit an application.

    As you will not be able to access the online application form you should contact NZ Regulation for an application form.

  • Applying for individual recognition as a qualified auditor in NZ

    In order to be recognised as a qualified auditor, New Zealand residents need to:

    • Be a Chartered Accountant residing in New Zealand;
    • Hold a CPP;
    • Agree to comply with any general or specific conditions attached to their recognition; and
    • Acknowledge that their details will be included in the public register of qualified auditors maintained by NZICA (as the regulatory body responsible for recognising them).

    If you are a licensed auditor you do not need to apply to be a qualified auditor. This is because your licence covers you for all statutory audits (subject to any limitations attached to your licence). However, if you would like to be included on our register of qualified auditors you may apply to be recognised as a qualified auditor. You will not be able to access the online application so please contact us for a PDF application form.

    Apply now

    To apply for recognition use our online form.

    Login and apply
  • Applying for individual recognition as a qualified auditor in Australia and elsewhere

    Members not based in New Zealand can apply direct to Companies Office for recognition. They will be listed on a register maintained by Companies Office.

    Apply now

    Members not based in New Zealand can apply direct to Companies Office for recognition. 

    Visit the Companies Office website
  • Applying for recognition as a qualified auditor - New Zealand firms

    Partnerships do not need to be recognised and we cannot enter a partnership firm separately on the register.

    If you are applying for recognition of your company, the company needs to be incorporated in New Zealand and must have at least one director who is recognised by us as a qualified auditor.

    The company needs to comply with the requirements of the legislation and the NZICA Rules in relation to:

    • Voting rights
    • Governance
    • Professional indemnity insurance
    • Where the company is appointed as auditor, the engagement director for each audit must also be a qualified auditor.

    The company will also need to enter into a “recognition agreement”. An example of a recognition agreement is contained in the application form. In certain circumstances, this agreement may be varied. Full details of the requirements are included in the application form below.

    A company that is recognised as a qualified auditor will meet the New Zealand requirements to be an approved practice entity. A separate application will not be required.

    Apply now

    NZ firms can apply for recognition as a qualified auditor.

    Download application
  • Applying for a recognition as a qualified auditor - Australian firms

    Partnerships do not need to be recognised and may perform statutory audits as long as the engagement partner is a qualified auditor.

    We can only recognise a firm structured as a limited company if the company is incorporated in New Zealand and at least one director is a New Zealand resident qualified auditor.

    Currently, Companies Office is not able to recognise a limited company as a qualified auditor.

  • Validity of recognition

    Recognition as a qualified auditor does not normally expire.

    All qualified auditors need to comply with conditions and confirm compliance annually.

  • Ongoing requirements

    Individual qualified auditors recognised by us will need to comply with the General Conditions and any special conditions that apply to their recognition. You must confirm annually that you have complied and continue to meet the requirements for recognition.

    Companies that we have recognised as qualified auditors must comply with their recognition agreement and confirm compliance annually.

    Recognition is kept under review and we may ask you to provide information to assist us confirm your ongoing compliance.

    If you have been recognised as a qualified auditor by Companies Office, they will separately advise you of their ongoing requirements.

  • Voluntary cancellation

    If you are resident in New Zealand and wish to cancel your qualified auditor status, please submit your request to us in writing.

    If you apply to relinquish your CPP we will treat this as an application to relinquish your qualified auditor status as holding a current CPP is requirement for all qualified auditors.

    Members resident outside New Zealand must contact Companies Office to cancel their recognition.

Where to find help

If you need assistance in applying for an auditor licence, registering your audit firm, obtaining qualified auditor recognition, or understanding your ongoing obligations, please get in touch with us

Contact us