This communication is to address certain vital aspects related to Statutory Bank Branch Audits in the form of “Specific Considerations while conducting Distance Audit / Remote Audit / Online Audit of Bank Branch under current Covid-19 situation”. An illustrative list of such considerations is enumerated below.
Though the methodologies of conducting audit are likely to undergo a change, the objective of the audit does not change, which require the auditors to ensure that sufficient appropriate audit evidence is available with the auditor based on which he is able to express his opinion.
Specific Considerations while conducting Distance Audit / Remote Audit / Online Audit of Bank Branch under current Covid-19 situation:
1. On a broader basis, there is no change expected in the function of statutory audit as compared with the earlier years, thus, the compliance with the regulatory norms including compliance with Standards on Auditing, Guidance Notes issued by ICAI on the subject matter remains unaltered. Thus, there is no dilution (in any form) of Standards on Auditing and / or any other mandatory guidelines issued by ICAI.
2. An auditor would thus take following steps on receipt of appointment letter for statutory bank audit:
a. Accept the appointment as branch auditors;
b. Plan and make available the requisite staff for conducting branch audits allotted to you;
c. Communicate with previous auditors via email (instead of by registered post as permitted by ESB advisory);
d. Use illustrative format as given in the PDC advisory to communicate with the respective branches;
3. The audit firm can opt for all the communications by email instead of physical mode wherever necessary and it is suggested that all the communications are initiated by the audit firm from a designated single email-id which will enable the firm to keep a tab on all the communications with the bank officials at the respective branches under audit. Further, the firm may consider to number such communications in chronological order for having better controls;
4. The audit firm can request the bank to provide the data / documents required for the purpose of conducting the audit in soft copy format at mutual convenience of the auditor and auditee. The audit firm will ensure strict compliance with the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) terms with regards to such data / documents received and will ensure confidentiality of the data / documents;
5. In view of the present lockdown and government advisory, the audit firms are advised to co-ordinate with the concerned bank officials for necessary arrangements for movement and safety of staff of audit firm within and outside of red zone, depending on location of auditor and the branch;
6. In case of non-availability of requisite files / documents at the branch, the audit firm may request either for arrangement of visit to Central Processing Cells (CPCs) or to make the files maintained at CPCs available at the branch;
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