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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Materiality in Government Auditing

Frans van Schaik considers the issue of materiality in government auditing in the context of the development of public sector specific guidance on this subject by INTOSAI, the international body for public sector external auditors, based on the private sector standard. The paper finds significant evidence for the materiality level in the public sector to be different to that in the private sector, despite this evidence, such differences are not clearly documented in the auditing standard. In the process, van Schaik reviews the key considerations for materiality for public sector auditors.

There is a striking difference in the approach taken in the preparation of public sector specific guidance on accounting and auditing. While the International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) issues stand-alone public sector accounting standards, the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) issues practice notes, which provide supplementary guidance for the public sector, in addition to the considerations specific to the public sector contained in the International Standards on Auditing. There is a similarity in that both IPSASB and INTOSAI fly in the jet stream of private sector standard setters. IPSASB only deviates from the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), issued by the IFRS Board, for public sector specific reasons. INTOSAI adds guidance to the International Standards on Auditing, issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB). These public sector specific practice not es are called International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI).

Materiality in Government Auditing

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