Framework of the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI)

The framework of international standards of supreme audit institutions aim to promote independent and effective audit performed by supreme audit institutions (SAIs). ISSAI standards include the requirements of public sector auditing at the organisational (SAI) level, while on the level of individual audits they aim to support the members of INTOSAI in the development of their own professional approach in accordance with their mandates and with national laws and regulations.

The framework of international standards of supreme audit institutions encompass the documents approved by the Congress of the International organization of supreme audit institutions (INCOSAI) establishing professional standards for supreme audit institutions.

The standards include recommendations on the legal, organisational and professional prerequisites as well as on the conduct of the auditing and any other tasks with which SAIs may be en­trusted. ISSAI number is given to each document.

The framework of international standards of supreme audit institutions encompassed four levels:

  1. Level 1: Founding Principles;
  2. Level 2: Prerequisites for the Functioning of Supreme Audit Institutions;
  3. Level 3: Fundamental Auditing Principles;
  4. Level 4: Auditing Guidelines.

Level 1: Founding Principles - contains the fundamental principles for founding supreme audit institutions. These principles are contained in Lima Declaration (ISSAI 1).

Level 2: Prerequisites for the Functioning of Supreme Audit Institutions – explains basic prerequisites for well functioning and professional conduct of the SAI with a regard to organizational aspects, which include independence, transparency, accountability, ethics and quality control as important elements for all audits of the SAI.

The documents of this level are: Mexico declaration on SAI independence (ISSAI 10); INTOSAI Guidelines and Good Practices Related to SAI Independence (ISSAI 11); Value and benefits of the SAIs – making difference of the life of citizens (ISSAI 12); Principles of Transparency and Accountability (ISSAI 20); Principles of Transparency - Good Practices (ISSAI 21); Code of Ethics (ISSAI 30); Quality Control for SAIs  (ISSAI 40).

Level 3: Fundamental Auditing Principles – refers to conducting public sector auditing and contains general accepted professional principles that underpin the effective and independent auditing of public-sector entities. The fundamental auditing principles at level 3 are based on ISSAI 1 – Lima Declaration and ISSAI standards of Level 2 and are further elaborated which ensure the adequate framework for public sector auditing.

The documents of this level are: Fundamental principles of public sector auditing (ISSAI 100); Fundamental principles of financial audit (ISSAI 200); Fundamental principles of performance audit (ISSAI 300); Fundamental principles of compliance audit (ISSAI 400).

Level 4: Auditing Guidelines – elaborates the fundamental auditing principles into more specific, detailed and operational guidelines that can be used on a daily basis for auditing tasks. This level contains General auditing guidelines (ISSAI 1000-4999) which define the requirements for financial auditing (ISSAI 1000-2999), performance auditing (ISSAI 3000-3999) and compliance audit (ISSAI 4000-4999).

Level 4 also contains guidelines on specific subjects: Special guidelines for international institutions (ISSAI 5000-5099); Special guidelines on environmental audit (ISSAI 5100-5199); Special guidelines on privatization (ISSAI 5200-5299); Guidelines on IT audit (ISSAI 5300-5399); Guidelines on Audit of Public Debt (ISSAI 5400-5499); Guidelines on Audit of Disaster-related Aid (ISSAI 5500-5599); Guidelines on Peer Reviews (ISSAI 5600-5699); Guidelines on Audit of Corruption Prevention (ISSAI 5700-5799); Guidelines on Cooperative Audit between Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI 5800-5899).

INTOSAI Guidelines for good governance (INTOSAI GOV) consists of the documents adopted at INCOSAI Congress, which refer to the public sector guidelines. These guidelines include the following documents: Guidelines on internal control (INTOSAI GOV 9100-9199) and Guidelines on Accounting Standards (INTOSAI GOV 9200-9299).

INTOSAI Professional Standards Committee proposed the new framework of international standards of supreme audit institutions (ISSAI), and it was officially adopted at XX INCOSAI Congress in South Africa, 2010.

Classification of ISSAI standards (mne)