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Practical help and tools for procuring assurance

On this page we provide information for the ‘buyer’, i.e. organisations that procure assurance services.

Commissioning external assurance

The nine stages

Typically assurance engagements can be broken up into nine stages, covering scoping, fieldwork and reporting.

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For many organisations an independent expert expressing assurance on information provides a strong signal that reports are trustworthy and offers access to skillsets that may not be available internally. 

While there are a range of recognised assurance engagement topics (see below), commissioning an external assurance provider offers organisations the ability to develop ad hoc engagements to meet the needs of their business. 

To support practitioners and those responsible for commissioning and using assurance reports, ICAEW Audit and Assurance Faculty has provided key guidance on developing new assurance engagements and has published an accompanying technical release AAF 02/07: A framework for assurance reports on third-party operations.

Assurance mapping

Gaining assurance is a way of managing a wide range of risks. An assurance map is a governance tool that shows at a glance how risks and assurance have been aligned across an organisation.
Managing risks is not the same as eliminating all risks. Without some level of risk, no organisation would be able to achieve its goals. The purpose of good risk management is to control the level of risks to suit the risk appetite of the business.

The assurance mapping process can be useful to organisations of any size or complexity, with or without a full assurance map being maintained.

Best practice

Read case study examples that explore the ways in which different companies have benefitted from written assurance reports.