Your SOQM should have been operational since 15 December 2022 but we appreciate some firms are still catching up. We’ve made our toolkit as easy to use as possible, while helping you comply fully with the new requirements. It contains documents (in Microsoft Word) addressing each component of ISQM (UK) 1, and with space for you to identify and assess the quality objectives that relate to you, the quality risks your firm faces, and the responses you need to adopt.
It also contains a resources pack, including a team questionnaire and forms to assess your service providers.
When you’ve completed the toolkit, you’ll have the structure and documentary evidence to show you comply with the mandatory process set out in ISQM (UK) 1. You’ll also have a framework for developing detailed responses to risks to quality, along with a system for monitoring and control. Your next step will be to ensure you have documentation that sets out your firm’s policies and procedures, and enables all your team to understand their roles and responsibilities relating to your SOQM.
It’s mainly for independent audit firms with fewer than 10 audit partners and 100 audits, and with no clients operating as public-interest entities (PIEs) or other entities of public interest (OEPIs) as defined by the FRC.
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We’ve worked with Apex Professional Consulting Ltd to develop the ISQM Toolkit. The project lead is Jeremy Williams, a co-founder of Apex who has spent more than two decades training accountants and auditors from UK firms of all sizes. Jeremy is a regular presenter on the 2020 Innovation training programme, covering topics such as ‘Professional Ethics for Accountants and Auditors’ and ‘Small and Micro Entity Accounting – Problems and Solutions’.
Will the ISQM Toolkit produce the system of quality management for me?
No, it’s a toolkit to help your firm answer the questions through which you’ll identify objectives, risks and responses. As you record these, you’ll achieve many of the documentation requirements of ISQM (UK) 1, but it can’t do the hard work of thinking about your firm’s circumstances – that’s down to you.
Does the toolkit contain a pre-loaded bank of objectives, risks and responses?
While the toolkit prompts for several likely risk areas, it doesn’t contain a ‘bank’ of these, and it certainly doesn’t set out a list of pre-loaded responses. In our view, such a list would go against the spirit of ISQM (UK) 1, which requires firms to find tailor-made responses.
What format is the toolkit?
The toolkit documents are in Microsoft Word, with plenty of space to enter text. A ‘Getting Started’ guide is included as a PDF document.
Is the toolkit designed for UK firms only?
Yes, it’s written to comply with ISQM (UK) 1, which contains additional requirements to those in the international ISQM 1 as issued by the IAASB. In particular, there are several specific responses that are not in the international text.
How long will it take me to work through the toolkit?
This will depend on your firm’s circumstances – but as a guide, it will take a typical firm at least one day to consider all potential risks and formulate responses. Then you’ll need more time to implement and monitor any extra activities arising as a result.