The Different Types of Assurance

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Blackwell Publishing Ltd.Oxford, UK and Malden, USAIJAUInternational Journal of Auditing1090-67382005 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.20059191102Original Articles Different Types of Assurance Services and Levels of Assurance ProvidedM. Hasan et al. The

International Journal of Auditing
Int. J. Audit. 9: 91–102 (2005)

The Different Types of Assurance
Services and Levels of
Assurance Provided
Mahreen Hasan1, Steven Maijoor2, Theodore J. Mock3,
Peter Roebuck1, Roger Simnett1 and Ann Vanstraelen4
1

University of New South Wales
Universiteit Maastricht and the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets
3
University of Southern California
4
University of Antwerp
2

In 2001 the International Auditing Practices Committee (IAPC, now the International Auditing and Assurance Standards
Board (IAASB)) commissioned research on the determination
and communication of moderate assurance. This research was
published in IFAC research monograph No. 1 (2002). Part of
this research involved surveying the types of assurance
services undertaken by 56 assurance firms from 11 different countries, the levels of assurance at which these assurance
services were generally provided, and for those services
provided as moderate assurance services, the reasons why. This paper re-analyses this data and extends the IFAC research
report (2002) by examining the differences between the types of assurance services (other than historical financial statement assurance) and levels at which these assurance services are
provided by the former Big 5 audit firms compared with
the non-Big 5 audit firms. Information was also collected on 166 moderate assurance engagements provided by these
participating assurance firms. The determinants of the level of assurance for these assurance service engagements were
identified and differences between the Big 5 and the non-Big 5 audit firms are reported.
Key words: Assurance levels, ISAE 100 (ISAE 3000).

SUMMARY
This research provides empirical evidence as to the
types of assurance services and the levels at which
this assurance is provided by audit firms providing
assurance on subject matter other than historical
Correspondence to: Roger Simnett, School of Accounting, The
University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia. Email: r.simnett@unsw.edu.au

financial statements. It compares the types and
levels of assurance services provided by the Big 5
firms in 11 different countries with those provided
by non-Big 5 audit firms in those countries.
The investigation was conducted by survey
questionnaires administered to 110 audit firms (the
Big 5 audit firms plus five non-Big 5 audit firms,
from each of 11 countries). Responses were
received from 56 different audit firms, 31 Big 5

ISSN 1090-6738
© Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2005. Published by Blackwell Publishing, 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford OX4 2DQ, UK and 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, USA.

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firms and 25 non-Big 5 audit firms. The level
of confidence provided by a moderate level of
assurance engagement, and whether this differs
between Big 5 and non-Big 5 audit firms, was also
examined.
At the individual assurance engagement level,
the determinants of the level of assurance provided
are also examined. This is achieved by asking
the respondent audit firms to provide up to
five assurance reports issued for assurance
engagements that were provided at a level of
assurance other than high and then answering a
series of questions regarding that engagement.
These questions were, to what extent was the level
of assurance provided in the example report
affected by the following factors: subject matter,
criteria, work effort, quantity of evidence and
quality of evidence. The firms were then asked
whether any other factors determined the level of
assurance provided. This stage of the analysis
is undertaken at the engagement level on the
basis that the determinants of the level of assurance
may change for the various...
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