The path to a new auditor
The path to a new auditor Guidelines and best practices for the tender process for the statutory audit
- Your company is required by the Financial Market Integrity Strengthening Act (Gesetz zur Stärkung der Finanzmarktintegrität – FISG) to rotate its auditor at intervals of no more than 10 years.
- You are a member of the Supervisory Board/ Audit Committee and are responsible for the selection of the auditor.
- You are the project manager for the tender process for the statutory audit of your company's financial statements.
- You would like to rotate your auditor voluntarily.
Requirements for the tendering of the statutory audit
As a result, we notice that not only public interest entities are complying with the requirements, but also an increasing number of entities are choosing a transparent and non-discriminatory tendering process and following the explicit requirements of the EU Regulation that do not fall within the definition of a public interest entity.
Strict requirements for public interest entities
Voluntary tendering process for the statutory audit
Besides the statutory obligation to rotate the statutory auditor, entities have various reasons for rotating auditors at regular intervals. The main reasons are as follows:
- Specifically imposed regulations for compliance with auditor independence requirements
- Ensuring the quality of the audit and thus increasing transparency and trust within the company
- Pressure from associates and shareholders
- Dissatisfaction with the current statutory auditor
Entities, which by definition are not public interest entities, have increasingly conducted their tendering procedures in accordance with the above-mentioned EU regulation.
Key challenges at a glance
The cornerstones of a successful tender project are the strategy, resource and project planning as well as the assessment of the status quo, which is followed by the detailed preparation of tender documents and the actual selection procedure.
Due to the process steps to be taken into account, the tendering process for the statutory audit is usually a project lasting several months, which requires both, internal and (in the case of consulting support) external capacities. In many cases, the project has to be initiated years before the actual rotation of the auditor in order to comply with independence requirements (cooling-in period).
For a purposive project implementation, identifying all stakeholders and developing a common strategy is therefore crucial at the beginning of the selection process.
From our point of view, the following questions must be answered at the beginning of the project:
- Within what time frame do we have to make a decision
- How do we ensure compliance with all legal requirements?
- What resources can and must we draw on during the tendering process?
- Who is responsible for the operational implementation of the tendering process?
Our experience shows that, depending on the company, the tender process for the statutory audit must be approached at an early stage in order to ensure compliance with the statutory independence requirements and to have sufficient time available for a qualitative tendering process. This applies in particular to cases in which not only the audit of the financial statements of the public interest entity is subject of the tendering process, but at the same time any audits of the entire Group, including further audit and assurance services. The same applies in particular to group structures in which various public interest entities are located in different EU countries.
Start elaborating your strategy at an early stage and consider sufficient time for the tendering process. Make sure that the strategy is anchored within the project group.
Central pillars of the tendering process, especially for public interest entities, are the meetings of the Audit Committee and the Supervisory Board, which are responsible for the main decisions of the tendering process. In most cases, the boards will not have sufficient personnel resources of their own to carry out the tendering and selection process themselves, with the result that a project group is usually established via the Executive Board for operational execution.
Although the resources and scheduling of the bodies for project planning are to be considered as the cornerstones, the resources for operational implementation are no less important for the project. For the tendering process, comprehensive tender documents must be developed and prepared to enable a transparent and non-discriminatory procedure. In particular, the quotations from potential auditors are of higher quality and more targeted if the information provided is of the highest quality.
Ensure sufficient resources at the outset of the tendering process and plan the entire tendering process in detail from the beginning. Ensure that the decision-making bodies as well as the project group are adequately informed about the process and the requirements.
While large companies have a variety of systems with different data sources, growing companies usually do not yet have ERP systems or have only recently implemented them. Both present challenges to information gathering.
Since it is not uncommon for the tender to require information that is not kept in the ERP systems, it should be ensured right at the beginning of the project how the necessary information can be consolidated. New system queries or reporting packages can be considered, especially in the case of multinational corporations. At the same time, it must be taken into account that non-financial information is also very important and must be collected in good time. Experience has shown that this relates in particular to information on required audit and assurance services within the corporate group and their legal requirements, as well as software solutions used decentrally in the financial area. These are usually not managed and maintained in uniform group systems.
When carrying out the tendering project, the necessary information should already be defined at the beginning to ensure timely consolidation. In doing so, use the newly gained knowledge about possible weaknesses and inconsistencies in your information landscape!
The approach of PAS Financial Advisory AG
PAS is an independent consulting firm for topics along the CFO agenda. We offer audit know-how, but do not provide statutory audits of financial statements. As a result, you cannot find a more objective and experienced advisor for the tendering process than us.
Your advantages at a glance:
- Absolute objectivity – We find the right auditor for your company.
- Market overview – From numerous tendering projects, we know the prices, approaches and strategies of large and medium-sized audit firms.
- Process experience – We guide you effectively and efficiently to the appointment of the new auditor.
- Professional know-how – We know all legal requirements and best practices.
- Auditor's perspective – We know the tendering processes from the auditor's side and know what information is needed for a professional process.
- Access to our database – Self-developed, field-tested tools, presentation templates and other templates are at your disposal.
- Resource-saving – With us, your day-to-day business does not have to rest in favor of the tender project.
Our solutions for your tender project
Quality assurance – We accompany you in complying with the legal requirements of the tendering process and ensure that the process corresponds to an efficient and high-quality procedure. We are your qualitative sparring partner.
Go Beyond Your Opportunities!