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Quality control

Quality Control in the audit environment is an important area of focus for audit practitioners. This section provides guidance to firms for the implementation of the clarified International Standard on Quality Control 1 (ISQC 1) and other standards making reference to audit quality.

This section covers quality control for firms that perform audits and reviews of financial statements, and other assurance and related services engagements. It contains the ICAEW publication on Quality control in the audit environment - A practical guide for firms on the clarified ISQC 1 along with resources to support implementation.

Practical help
Relevant articles

Articles written by practitioners and ICAEW staff in the area of Quality Control.

Root of the problem
Root cause analysis can be an effective and efficient way for firms of all shapes and sizes to discover what’s behind problems and to support remediation. This article provides a summary of the live video webinar held with members of the working party involved in the development of Improving audit quality using root cause analysis.

The ABC of QMA 
ICAEW auditors discuss what a quality management approach may mean for auditors, firms and most importantly, for audit quality, in light of IAASB’s ITC.

Devils in the detail 
Best practice on internal quality monitoring processes and areas where firms could improve, in light of FRC’s Audit Quality Thematic Review: firms’ audit quality monitoring.

How to survive an Audit Monitoring visit 
An audit monitoring visit is unlikely to be as bad as you expect it to be, particularly if you are well-prepared.

Audit Quality Indicators (AQIs) 
A discussion on the debate on AQIs and some practical examples.

The quality of culture 
This article highlights the importance of business culture and the importance of getting it right.

Warming up Cold Cases
Cold file reviews (CFRs) play an important role in the monitoring and improving of audit quality. CFRs may also highlight areas where the auditing team can improve efficiency, for example, by helping the firm to cut down the amount of unnecessary documentation that audit regulators sometimes see on audit files.

Turning weaknesses into strengths
All audit firms can learn from the experiences of others. Being aware of some of the key issues for auditors that arise during visits by ICAEW's Quality Assurance Department (QAD) provides pointers for improvement and an opportunity to address weaknesses before they become the sort of problem that can lead to disciplinary procedures.

Focus on relevance
Here is a common misconception that improving audit quality costs money without any improvement to efficiency, and auditors can only become more profitable by cutting costs. However, with appropriate investment in audit, quality can drive efficiency as this article sets out.

Get engaged
Even the smallest audit firm might sometimes need an engagement quality control review as this article reports.

Good, better, best
Auditors are always striving to improve the quality of their audits. There is always room for improvement and this article looks at steps to take to lift the quality of audits from good to better, or better to best.

From perception to perfection
Since the financial crisis, the audit profession role as a monitor has been brought into question and, in the public’s view, some of the value of its professionalism has been lost. Changing public perception is no easy task, as auditors down the generations have learnt. This article sets out the discussions at ICAEW’s Audit Quality Forum in June 2012 where the challenges of communication and auditor reporting were high on the agenda.

Making audit pay
There is a parallel between quality audit and profitable audits. Budgeting, planning, procedures and training can all have a positive effect on these under the clarified ISAs. This article sets out the how.

First line of defence
Reasons for a review of completed engagement (or cold file review)] range from regulatory requirements, through higher-risk jobs, to pre-planning for the next year, but they can also help audit firms identify where they can improve efficiency. You can access a Review of Completed Engagement (Cold Review)] Helpsheet for further assistance which you can find in the Helpsheets listing below.

The heat is on
So what is the difference between a Pre-completion review of the audit (hot file review) and an engagement quality control review (EQCR)? Are Pre-completion review of the audit and second partner reviews the same? When, and also why, should a formal consultation be conducted? This article seeks to answer these and other questions affecting reviews on audit quality.

Value added
As economic challenges increase pressure on audit fees, it is becoming more important to demonstrate value for money to clients. This article sets out how to achieve this.

Reframing audit quality
This article explores the benefits and challenges of putting reliability at the heart of auditing in seeking to raise the bar on audit quality.

The great debate
Discussion article on what we mean by audit quality and how this might be achieved through an appropriate framework.


This section contains practical guidance in the area of quality control and includes file reviews and whole firm reviews.


This section contains webinars and video events covering practical assistance for firms and practitioners in the application of quality control standards.

IAASB guidance, support tools and news

IAASB’s Invitation To Comment (ITC) - Enhancing audit quality in the public interest: a focus on professional scepticism, quality control and group audits  

Building upon the IAASB’s efforts to develop its Work Plan for 2015–2016, the ITC highlights the board’s discussions on the topics of professional scepticism, quality control and group audits – and flags potential standard-setting activities the IAASB could take to enhance audit quality.

Guidance and support from the IAASB in the area of quality control