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Study 3 - Auditing for Compliance with Authorities - A Public Sector Perspective

| Support for Standards & Pronouncements

This Study addresses aspects of the audit for compliance in the public sector which, in many countries, is subject to very different mandates and objectives than in the private sector. In a democratic system of government, accountability to the public and particularly, to its designated representatives, is an overriding aspect of the management of a public sector entity.

Public sector entities are usually established by legislation and their operations governed by various authorities derived from legislation. Management of public sector entities is accountable for operating in accordance with the provisions of the relevant laws, regulations and other authorities governing them.

Since legislation and other authorities are the primary means by which legislators control the raising and spending of money by the public sector, auditing for compliance with relevant authorities is usually an important and integral part of the audit mandate, or terms of engagement, for most audits of public sector entities. Because of the variety of authorities, their provisions may be conflicting with one another and may be subject to differing interpretations.

Also, subordinate authorities may not adhere to the directions or limits prescribed by the enabling legislation. As a result, an assessment of compliance with authority in the public sector requires considerable professional judgment and is of particular importance.

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