Coronavirus (COVID-19) – An introduction to using electronic signatures to sign an audit report
Many auditors are working from home during the COVID-19 lockdown, and this presents logistical challenges for the signing of the auditor’s reports on financial statements. In such circumstances there is a choice of either coordinating the signing of the relevant pages by post using handwritten (‘wet ink’) signatures or signing with a type of electronic signature. The former may be time consuming and whilst the latter is speedier, many are unsure whether it is permissible.
This brief guide from ICAEW’s Audit and Assurance Faculty and Business Law Department provides an introduction to the main factors for auditors to consider around the use of electronic signatures in auditors’ reports. A more comprehensive guide, Using an electronic signature to sign an audit report, is available to Audit and Assurance Faculty members and Faculties Online subscribers.
This guide focuses on UK auditing requirements and the law regarding electronic signatures applicable in England and Wales but its principles may also apply to other reporting engagements. It is intended to provide practical guidance to ICAEW members but if in doubt members are advised to seek legal advice.