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The specialised nature of information systems (IS) audit and assurance and the skills necessary to perform such engagements require standards that apply specifically to IS audit and assurance. The development and dissemination of the IS audit and assurance standards are a cornerstone of the ISACA professional contribution to the audit community.
IS audit and assurance standards define mandatory requirements for IS auditing and reporting and inform:
- IS audit and assurance professionals of the minimum level of acceptable performance required to meet the professional responsibilities set out in the ISACA Code of Professional Ethics
- Management and other interested parties of the profession’s expectations concerning the work of practitioners
- Holders of the Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) designation of requirements. Failure to comply with these standards may result in an investigation into the CISA holder’s conduct by the ISACA Board of Directors or appropriate committee and, ultimately, in disciplinary action.
IS audit and assurance professionals should include a statement in their work, where appropriate, that the engagement has been conducted in accordance with ISACA IS audit and assurance standards or other applicable professional standards.
The ITAF™ framework for the IS audit and assurance professional provides multiple levels of guidance:
- Standards, divided into three categories:
- General standards (1000 series)—Are the guiding principles under which the IS audit and assurance profession operates. They apply to the conduct of all assignments, and deal with the IS audit and assurance professional’s ethics, independence, objectivity and due care as well as knowledge, competency and skill. The standards statements (in bold) are mandatory.
- Performance standards (1200 series)—Deal with the conduct of the assignment, such as planning and supervision, scoping, risk and materiality, resource mobilisation, supervision and assignment management, audit and assurance evidence, and the exercising of professional judgement and due care
- Reporting standards (1400 series)—Address the types of reports, means of communication and the information communicated
- Guidelines, supporting the standards and also divided into three categories:
- General guidelines (2000 series)
- Performance guidelines (2200 series)
- Reporting guidelines (2400 series)
- Tools and techniques, providing additional guidance for IS audit and assurance professionals, e.g., white papers, IS audit/assurance programmes, the COBIT 5 family of products
An online glossary of terms used in ITAF is provided at www.isaca.org/glossary.
Disclaimer: ISACA has designed this guidance as the minimum level of acceptable performance required to meet the professional responsibilities set out in the ISACA Code of Professional Ethics. ISACA makes no claim that use of this product will assure a successful outcome. The publication should not be considered inclusive of any proper procedures and tests or exclusive of other procedures and tests that are reasonably directed to obtaining the same results. In determining the propriety of any specific procedure or test, controls professionals should apply their own professional judgement to the specific control circumstances presented by the particular systems or IS environment.
The ISACA Professional Standards and Career Management Committee (PSCMC) is committed to wide consultation in the preparation of standards and guidance. Prior to issuing any document, an exposure draft is issued internationally for general public comment. Comments may also be submitted to the attention of the director of professional standards development via email (email@example.com), fax (+1.847. 253.1443) or postal mail (ISACA International Headquarters, 3701 Algonquin Road, Suite 1010, Rolling Meadows, IL 60008-3105, USA).
ISACA 2012-2013 Professional Standards and Career Management Committee
Steven E. Sizemore, CISA, CIA, CGAP, Chairperson
Christopher Nigel Cooper, CISM, CITP, FBCS, M.Inst.ISP
Ronald E. Franke, CISA, CRISC, CFE, CIA, CICA
Murari Kalyanaramani, CISA, CISM, CRISC, CISSP, CBCP
Alisdair McKenzie, CISA, CISSP, ITCP
Katsumi Sakagawa, CISA, CRISC, PMP
Ian Sanderson, CISA, CRISC, FCA
Timothy Smith, CISA, CISSP, CPA
Rodolfo Szuster, CISA, CA, CBA, CIA
Texas Health and Human Services Commission, USA
HP Enterprises Security Services, UK
Myers and Stauffer LC, USA
British American Tobacco IT Services, Malaysia
IS Assurance Services, New Zealand
JIEC Co. Ltd., Japan
LPL Financial, USA
Tarshop S.A., Argentina
IS audit and assurance professionals shall have reasonable expectation that the engagement can be completed in accordance with the IS audit and assurance standards and, where required, other appropriate professional or industry standards or applicable regulations and result in a professional opinion or conclusion.
IS audit and assurance professionals shall have reasonable expectation that the scope of the engagement enables conclusion on the subject matter and addresses any restrictions.
IS audit and assurance professionals shall have reasonable expectation that management understands its obligations and responsibilities with respect to the provision of appropriate, relevant and timely information required to perform the engagement.
IS audit and assurance professionals should:
- Undertake the IS audit or assurance engagement only if the work can be successfully completed in accordance with professional standards.
- Undertake the IS audit or assurance engagement only if the subject matter of the engagement can be assessed against relevant criteria.
- Review the scope of the IS audit or assurance engagement to determine that it is clearly documented and permits a conclusion to be drawn on the subject matter.
- Identify and address any restrictions being placed upon the engagement to be performed, including access to appropriate, relevant and timely information.
- Consider whether the scope is sufficient to permit an Auditor’s opinion to be expressed on the subject matter. Scope limitations may occur when information required to complete the engagement is unavailable, when the time frame included in the IS auditor assurance engagement is insufficient or when management attempts to limit the scope to selected areas. In such cases, other types of engagements may be considered such as support for audited financial statements, reviews of controls, compliance with required standards and practices or compliance with agreements, licenses, legislation and regulation.
||A formal statement expressed by the IS audit or assurance professional that describes the scope of the audit, the procedures used to produce the report and whether or not the findings support that the audit criteria have been met.|
The types of opinions are:
Note: A disclaimer of opinion it is issued when the auditor is unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence on which to base an opinion or if it is impossible to form an opinion due to the potential interactions of multiple uncertainties and their possible cumulative impact.
- Unqualified opinion—Notes no exceptions or none of the exceptions noted aggregate to a significant deficiency
- Qualified opinion—Notes exceptions aggregated to a significant deficiency (but not a material weakness)
- Adverse opinion—Notes one or more significant deficiencies aggregating to a material weakness
Linkage to Guidelines
||2004 Reasonable Expectation|
This ISACA standard is effective for all IS audit and assurance engagements beginning 1 November 2013.