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A practitioner's view on joint audit

Joint audit has been used in France for more than 50 years, but how does it work in practice? Bob Neate from Mazars offers a practitioner’s view on this poorly understood form of audit.

When the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published an update paper for its statutory audit market study in December 2018, joint audit in the FTSE 350 was one of its principal proposed reforms this prompted increased discussion of joint audit in the UK and other countries, yet joint audit remains poorly understood. So this article takes a pragmatic look at joint audit and how it works in practice, by reference to France, where joint audit has been required for listed groups (among other companies) for more than 50 years, and where Mazars is actively involved.

Let’s start with some basics: what is a joint audit and how does it work? In a joint audit, two or more audit firms issue the opinion on the group financial statements. So each firm needs to have done enough work – either directly or through review and challenge of the other firm’s work – to form their opinion. In France, Les Normes d’Exercice Professionnel (NEP 100) is the professional standard that guides the practical operation of joint audits.