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Researching international auditing standards

Research guide

Updated: 07 Feb 2023 Update History

This guide focuses on the international auditing standards issued by the IAASB and its predecessor, the IAPC. It provides information on how to obtain current and historical iterations of these standards, and gives an overview of their history and development.

How the Library can help

The ICAEW Library has compiled this guide to help everyone to find the auditing standards they need.

The Library enquiry team can also help ICAEW members, ACA students and other authorised users with requests for auditing standards, and related information. Library staff can consult print sources held in our collection on your behalf, and we can loan books and supply documents from our collection by email or post.

If you would like to know more about the information we can offer, please call us on +44 (0)20 7920 8620, email library@icaew.com or contact us through webchat.

Current international auditing standards

The current suite of international auditing standards is set by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB), and consists of a number of International Standards on Auditing (ISAs), along with various other pronouncements on audit and assurance. The IAASB and its predecessor, the International Auditing Practices Committee (IAPC), have issued ISAs since 1991.

At present, the authoritative pronouncements on auditing and assurance issued by the IAASB take the following forms:

  • International Standards on Auditing (ISAs);
  • International Standards on Quality Management (ISQMs);
  • International Standards on Review Engagements (ISREs);
  • International Standards on Assurance Engagements (ISAEs);
  • International Standards on Related Services (ISRSs).

In addition to the above, the IAASB also issues non-authoritative documents which are intended to provide practical assistance to auditors:

  • International Auditing Practice Notes (IAPNs).

IAPNs replaced the previous International Auditing Practice Statements (IAPSs) as of September 2011.

All of the above pronouncements are made available in full within the annual Handbook of International Quality Control, Auditing, Review, Other Assurance, and Related Services Pronouncements. Recent editions of the Handbook, as well as copies of some individual standards, are available to download from the IAASB website free-of-charge. The ICAEW Library also collects print copies, as published.

Use, adoption and adaptation of international auditing standards

In the UK

Since December 2004, the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has issued adapted versions of the International Standards on Auditing (originally issued by the IAASB) for use in the UK. These are known as International Standards on Auditing (UK) — or ISAs (UK) — and contain supplementary material not found in the original IAASB standards.

As well as ISAs (UK), the FRC also issues adapted versions of the International Standards on Quality Management, along with certain other IAASB pronouncements, for use in the UK.

More information on UK-adopted international auditing standards, and where to access them, can be found in the Library's separate guide to UK auditing standards.

In the US

As of 2022, the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) considers ISAs to have been 'partially adopted' in the United States of America.

Information on the status of ISAs in the US can be found on IFAC's website.

In addition, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has issued the following publications covering the convergences and differences between ISAs and Generally Accepted Auditing Standards in the US:

Please note that these publications may pre-date the latest standards, legislation and regulations, and therefore should be treated with appropriate caution.

In other jurisdictions

IFAC periodically publishes Global Adoption Status Snapshot reports, which provide an overview of the extent to which the international auditing standards issued by the IAASB have been adopted around the world. The 2022 report can be viewed in full on the IFAC website.

A more detailed breakdown of the status of the standards by jurisdiction can be found on IFAC's online Global Impact Map.

Superseded standards

Over the years, international auditing standards have existed in a number of different forms and iterations, many of which have now been superseded. Information on how to access withdrawn standards is set out below.

For a chronological outline of the history and development of international auditing standards, please see the timeline further down the page.

Withdrawn standards freely available online

Some more-recently superseded international auditing pronouncements are freely available on the IAASB website.

As of 2023, previous editions of the Handbook of International Quality Control, Auditing, Review, Other Assurance, and Related Services Pronouncements going back to 2012 are available for download alongside the current edition. Standalone copies of some standards issued since 2012 are also available.

Withdrawn standards in the ICAEW Library collection

International Auditing Guidelines (IAGs) and associated pronouncements, 1980-1991

The International Auditing Practices Committee (IAPC) issued International Auditing Guidelines (IAGs) between 1980 and 1991.

Between 1988 and 1990 the IAPC also issued four guidelines on Related Services, with the numeration RS1-RS4. By the time the 1993 IFAC Handbook was released these had become ISA/RS1-4. Later handbooks listed them as standards in the section on related services without any reference to RS numeration.

To aid good practice and assist with the practical implementation of the aforementioned guidelines, the IAPC periodically issued supplementary, non-authoritative statements in the form of International Auditing Statements and International Statements on Auditing. The first International Auditing Statement was issued in 1984, followed by a number of International Statements on Auditing between 1987 and 1990.

The Library holds 33 guidelines and their supplements/addendums in its collection, along with copies of supplementary statements, and several consolidated volumes of summaries and full texts. Information on our holdings of all of the above can be found on the Library catalogue, via the link below:

The following volumes — all held in the Library collection — are particularly useful for identifying the guidelines in force at a particular date:

  • Summary of International Guidelines on Auditing and Related Services (IFAC, 1991)
    Contains summaries of IAGs 1-29 and IAG/RSs 1-4.
  • Summary of International Guidelines on Auditing and Related Services (IFAC, 1989)
    Contains summaries of IAGs 1-26 and IAG/RSs 1-2, as at 31 December 1988.
  • International Accounting and Auditing Standards as of October 1, 1988 (Commerce Clearing House, 1988)
  • International Auditing Guidelines, 1-20 (ICAEW, 1985)
    Contains the full text of all IAGs extant at 1 September 1985.
  • International Auditing Guidelines [nos.1-15] (Centre Belge de Normalisation de la Comptabilite et du Revisorat, 1984)

International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) and associated pronouncements, 1991-

The Library collection includes an extensive archive of ISAs and other pronouncements issued by the IAPC and its successor, the IAASB, since 1991.

We hold print copies of IFAC handbooks containing IAASB/IAPC pronouncements from 1993 onwards. Each edition contains the ISAs and other related pronouncements effective at the date of publication. More information on our holdings of these titles is available on the Library catalogue.

In addition to ISAs and other authoritative pronouncements, editions of the handbook include — as applicable — the non-authoritative International Auditing Statements, International Statements on Auditing, International Auditing Practice Statements (IAPSs) and International Auditing Practice Notes (IAPNs) that have been issued in turn to aid good practice and assist with the practical implementation of the standards. Some IAPSs were issued as supplements to the ISA they related to; for example, International Auditing Practice Statements 1001-1003 were issued as Supplements 1-3 of ISA 400.

As well as historical handbooks, the Library also holds print copies of a number of individual IAPC and IAASB pronouncements issued since 1991, along with exposure drafts of standards:

You can search our collection yourself, using LibCat, our online catalogue. To search for a particular ISA, select Advanced Search in LibCat and enter ‘international standard on auditing [number]’ in the Series search box. For example, to search for ISA 710, you would enter 'international standard on auditing 710'.

History and development of international auditing standards

The timeline below provides a brief overview of the history and development of international auditing standards since 1969. Please note that it is not intended to be fully comprehensive in its coverage.

Early history

Groundwork for an international set of standards for auditing began in 1969 with the publication of a number of reports focusing on international auditing by the Accountants International Study Group, comparing the situation in Canada, the UK and US. A few years later, the establishment of the International Accounting Standards Committee in 1973 generated many calls for a similar body to be set up on the auditing front.

Amongst the many calls was a well researched argument from Maurice Moonitz, Director of Accounting Research at AICPA, in his 1978 book ‘International Auditing Standards’ which set out the case for a set of standards, and went on to recommend the establishment of an International Auditing Standards Committee (IAudSC). The title from Moonitz is useful in comparing the situation worldwide prior to the adoption of an international set of standards, and in identifying the various calls for international standards at the time.

In the late 1970s the Council of International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) created the International Auditing Practices Committee (IAPC) which would be a standing committee of the IFAC Council and subsequently the IFAC Board (in May 2000 the IFAC Council was renamed the IFAC Board).

Between 1980 and 1991 the IAPC issued International Auditing Guidelines (IAG), and addendums to these.

In 1991, the IAPC’s guidelines were recodified as International Standards on Auditing (ISAs). At the time, the IAPC stated:

National standards on auditing and related services published in many countries differ in form and content. The International Auditing Practices Committee (IAPC) takes cognizance of such documents and differences, and, in the light of such knowledge, issues ISAs, which are intended for international acceptance.

The first ISA was issued in 1991, and this has remained the core series to the present day.

An overview of the first few decades in the history of international auditing standards can be found in Robert Roussey's article, 'The Development of International Standards on Auditing', published in the October 1999 issue of the New York State Society of CPA's CPA Journal (pp.14–20). The article is available in full text online, or in hard copy in the Library. The hard copy includes some charts and diagrams not reproduced in the online version.


In 2002 the IAPC was renamed as the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB). Membership of the organisation was widened to include non-auditors.


In January 2003 the IAASB made available the full text of International Standards on Auditing for free on its website and stated that all future final pronouncements would be published for free online.

Later, on 21 May 2003, the European Commission issued the communication, 'Reinforcing the Statutory audit in the European Union' (COM/2003/286) which identified the requirement to use ISAs for all EU statutory audits from 2005 onwards as a short term priority. The communication was publicised with a press release entitled 'Audit of company accounts: Commission sets out ten priorities to improve quality and protect investors'.


On 6 May 2004, the Auditing Practices Board (replaced by the Audit and Assurance Council in July 2012) in the UK issued a press release announcing their intention to adopt the International Standards of Auditing (ISAs) issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB).

On 22 December 2004 the APB issued the International Standards on Auditing (UK and Ireland). At the time, an APB press release stated that these would:

apply to all audits of financial statements for periods commencing on or after 15 December 2004. The APB's previous standards, Statements of Auditing Standards (SASs), are applied for audits of financial statements for periods commencing before that date.

For more information on UK auditing standards (including UK-adopted ISAs), please see our separate guide.


At the end of 2008, the IAASB completed a project (known as the 'Clarity Project'), which aimed ‘to improve the understandability of the ISAs and make them more compatible with regulatory frameworks, including the EC's Statutory Audit Directive’. The project resulted in a number of changes to the IAASB's suite of ISAs. Information on the project and its outcomes is available on the IAASB website.

In light of this, the APB issued new UK standards to replace the existing ISAs (UK and Ireland) and ISQC (UK and Ireland) 1. The publication of these new standards was announced on 13 October 2009, when the APB issued a press release entitled 'The APB issues new ISAs (UK and Ireland)'. The APB also issued a staff paper, 'Summary of changes in the new ISAs (UK and Ireland)', which was intended to assist those seeking to understand the changes. For more information on UK-adopted international auditing standards, please see our separate guide.

The Library holds a number of articles and books on the clarified ISAs.

Related resources

In the Library collection

The ICAEW Library collection includes a growing number of books and articles on international auditing standards.

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library, please see our guide to book loans. You can obtain copies of articles or extracts from books and reports by post or email through our document supply service.

Other ICAEW resources

Further information is also available from ICAEW's Audit and Assurance Faculty, through its guides to implementing International Standards on Auditing.

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