- SMSF auditors must meet the competency requirements set out by Chartered Accountants ANZ
- Auditors must also be registered with ASIC, which involves meeting basic eligibility requirements
- Resources are available to support SMSF auditors meet appropriate standards
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SMSF auditor services
SMSF auditors have important responsibilities. Their role combines ensuring funds comply with the legislation governing super funds as well as examining the accuracy of an individual fund’s accounting records.
This role doesn’t just help to support individual clients in the management of their retirement savings, it also underpins the health of the broader SMSF sector.
This highlights why it is so critical for SMSF auditors to be appropriately qualified and experienced for their role.
Understand the criteria
There are important criteria auditors must meet in order to sign off an SMSF audit report. In summary, some of these include:
- Meeting the competency SMSF requirements of the professional accounting bodies – scroll down for more details.
- Be registered as an ASIC SMSF Auditor holding a valid SMSF auditor number (SAN)
- Meeting the ongoing requirements of the Supervision Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SISA) and its Regulations (SISR)
- Complying with the auditor independence requirements set out in APES 110, and following the applicable auditing standards set out in ASAs and ASAEs.
Meeting mandatory requirements
Register to become an SMSF auditor with ASIC
ASIC sets out a number of standards that must be met to become registered as an SMSF auditor.
You will need to meet four key conditions:
- Have a relevant tertiary accounting qualification for at least three years. If your tertiary studies did not include an audit component, you need to have successfully completed study in audit as part of a program run by a professional accounting body.
- Have accumulated 300 hours experience auditing SMSFs in the three years prior to registering with ASIC.
- Pass a competency exam, and be a “fit and proper person”.
- Hold adequate and appropriate professional indemnity insurance.
You can find out more about the criteria to become an ASIC-registered SMSF auditor by visiting ASIC’s SMSF auditor home page.
Along with ASIC’s eligibility requirements, Chartered Accountants ANZ and other professional accounting bodies, set out additional criteria that SMSF auditors must meet.
The competency standards of the professional bodies are explained below.
To be an SMSF auditor you will need to:
- Complete initial training requirements. This includes completing a course focusing on auditing SMSFs, which complies with the regulations relating to training and development set out by your professional accounting body.
- Hold a practicing certificate issued by the professional accounting body of which you are a member (CA ANZ, CPA, NIA).
- Undertake 120 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training every three years - of which 30 hours must focus on superannuation including 8 hours of development on auditing SMSFs.
- Ensure all staff working with you on an SMSF audit have appropriate knowledge and experience and are properly supervised during the audit process.
- Hold appropriate Professional Indemnity insurance.
You can learn more by reading Joint Accounting ‘Competency requirements for auditors of self-managed superannuation funds’.
Find a course
To support our members, we offer a course through our store titled Audit of SMSFs - Introduction to SIS Compliance Auditing Workshop.
A number of ongoing requirements must be satisfied by approved SMSF auditors.
ASIC sets out various competency requirements of its own, and these are detailed in Class Order 12/1687. These are broadly based on the requirements set out by the various professional accounting bodies including us.
The full details of Class Order 12/1687 from ASIC.Read more
Meeting APES 110 Code of Ethics
Ethical integrity is always paramount for members of our profession, and registered SMSF auditors must adhere to the standards and auditor independence requirements set out in APES 110 - Code of Ethics for professional accountants.
This requirement applies to all SMSF auditors regardless of which professional accounting body you are a member of.
More detail on competency standards can be found in ASIC’s Regulatory guide 243 Registration of self-managed superannuation fund auditors (RG 243) and Competency standards for auditors of self-managed superannuation funds (CO 12/1768).
ASIC's Regulatory guide 243 registration of self-managed superannuation fund auditors (RG 243).Read more
Maintaining auditor independence
Independence is critical to ensuring the integrity of an audit.Reflecting this, SMSF auditors need to maintain the standards of independence set out in the SIS Regulations as well as the specific independence requirements included in the Australian Professional and Ethical Standards APES 110 - Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants.
To support our members, we have developed an Independence Guide for auditors.
This Guide is designed for members in public practice, and it covers independence in the context of assurance engagements. It provides an explanation of the conceptual approach to independence set out in Sections 290 and 291 of APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants. You’ll also find guidance on the application of that approach for assurance practitioners.
For practical examples of independence issues that may be encountered when you are auditing a SMSF, take a look at Chapter 9 of the Independence Guide.
A guide for SMSF auditors on how to remain independent written by the Joint Accounting Bodies.
Meeting audit standards
As an SMSF auditor you must comply with auditing and assurance engagement standards in addition to compliance with set competency standards.
A range of publications is available to help you comply with auditing standards when conducting SMSF audits.
Auditing and Assurance Standards
The Australian Auditing Standards set out requirements for auditors, and provide explanations on the responsibilities of an auditor engaged to audit a financial report, a complete set of financial statements, or other historical financial information.
Available resources from the Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards Board.
A number of guidance statements are also useful for SMSF auditors. These include:
- Guidance Statement GS 009 -Auditing Self-Managed Superannuation Funds (SMSFs). You’ll find practical assistance, explanatory details and procedures useful for conducting SMSF audits. Use GS-009 in combination with the audit standards and Australian Taxation Office (ATO) requirements to ensure proper discharge of your statutory responsibilities.
- Guidance Statement GS 007 – Auditing Implications of the Use of Service Organisations for Investment Management Services. This Guideline provides support for auditors of SMSFs that use service organisations for investment management services. It describes how the associated audit reports may be used as supporting evidence in the audit of the SMSF.
Download the guides
Guides are available for download from the Australian Auditing and Assurance Standards Board.
Australian Audit Guide for Self-Managed Superannuation Funds
This Guide from Thomson Reuters offers a practical, hands-on tool for SMSF auditors. It provides in-depth, up-to-date guidance including real life case studies to help you better understand and apply auditing standards. You’ll also find a ‘toolkit’ of commonly used forms and checklists such as sample engagement letters, audit checklists, audit planning programs, and trustee representation letters to help you streamline the process of auditing SMSFs.
Buy the guide
Chartered Accountants ANZ members receive a discount through Thomson Reuters, including on this guide.
Approved auditors play a key important role in the SMSF market, and as such the ATO provides the following tools and guidance on its SMSF auditor homepage:
- Self-managed superannuation fund independent auditor's report - the latest approved form of the SMSF independent auditor's report, which applies from 1 July 2014.
- Electronic Superannuation Audit Tool (eSAT) - this free tool is designed to help SMSF auditors fulfil their obligations and lodge an Auditor contravention report (ACR) where required.
- Completing the Auditor/actuary contravention report - the audit/actuary contravention report (ACR) is used by auditors and actuaries to provide written details of any contraventions made by SMSF trustees. You’ll find instructions and guidance about the reporting criteria and examples that can assist with completing an ACR.
Resources from ATO
Access these resources and more from the SMSF auditor page on the ATO site.