SMSF Specialist Auditor (SSAud®)

Become an SMSF Specialist Auditor (SSAud ® )

The SMSF Specialist Auditor (SSAud ® ) program is specifically designed for audit professionals seeking recognition for their specialist skills and knowledge required through statutory obligations, Auditing & Assurance Standards and AUASB Guidance Statements.

To audit a self-managed super fund, an auditor must be a qualified member of an approved professional organisation.

As of 1 July 2013, the rules changed requiring SMSF Auditors to be registered with ASIC.

When held in conjunction with an accounting degree, the SMSF Association SSAud® will satisfy the education requirements of the ASIC Auditor Registration, as it is registered as an approved program under the SMSF Auditor regulations (SIS 9A.02). This accreditation program is an AQF8 level qualification.

SMSF SPECIALIST AUDITOR PROGRAM

8 topics + Exam

12 months to complete

42 CPD
hours

$1,980

Total cost to complete the program (including exam)

To be eligible for the SMSF Specialist Auditor™ program, you must:

  • Be an SMSF Association Associate member.
  • Maintain adequate professional indemnity insurance for the SMSF professional auditor.
  • Structured Training: Have attended a minimum of 40 hours of structured SMSF training in the past 3 years, of which at least 8 hours is structured audit training.
  • Practical SMSF Audit Experience: Have completed 300 hours of practical SMSF audit in the past 3 years, of which at least 150 hours is in a senior or supervisory role; OR
    • Have signed off as the “Approved Auditor” on 20 or more SMSF audits in the past 12 months.
    • Agree to conduct SMSF audits following the SMSF Association Standards of Professional Conduct for SMSF Specialist Auditors.
  • Agree to conduct SMSF audits following Guidance Statement GS 009 Financial & Compliance Audits of Self Managed Superannuation Funds issued by the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board.
  • Agree to satisfy the SMSF Association’s Continuing Professional Development and Quality Review Program requirements.

On registering for the SMSF Specialist Auditor program you will be required to complete a questionnaire form to ensure your eligibility.

This program meets part of the compliance requirements to become a Registered SMSF Auditor.

Students will examine the requirements of the Australian Auditing Standards and how they should be applied in an SMSF audit. Also, the practical relationship between the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS) compliance audit of an SMSF and the Auditing Standards will be analysed.

Specifically, the program covers the auditor’s reporting obligations in relation to SIS compliance to both the trustees and the Australian Taxation Office.

Learning Resources

The program includes eight (8) self-paced learning modules specific to the module topics. This will provide you with broad SMSF audit knowledge to prepare you for completing the online SMSF Specialist Auditor exam.

Examination

The online examination is 2 hours in duration and consists of 90 multiple-choice questions. No written answers are required.

The exam is conducted under supervision,  and you are required to nominate a suitable supervisor (meeting specified eligibility criteria) before being provided with access to the online exam.

Important note: We expect that candidates will be able to pass the exam, provided there has been sufficient attention and engagement to the learning materials, and they have practical SMSF experience in the industry.

Participants are permitted a maximum of two (2) attempts to pass the online examination.

On completion of the modules and exam, before recognition as an SMSF Specialist, you will be required to complete a short questionnaire to confirm your eligibility to be an SMSF Specialist Auditor.

To prepare for the online exam, you will be provided with an SSAud® practice exam as part of the learning module resources.

Topic 1 – Being an SMSF Auditor

To ensure compliance with the rules, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) as the regulator of SMSFs places reliance on the work of SMSF auditors. It is a legislative requirement that the financial statements of all SMSFs are audited each year. In many respects, the integrity of the SMSF industry relies on the conduct of a quality audit by competent practitioners.

Approved SMSF auditors are required to be registered with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). The legislation covers the requirements that must be met to enable registration with ASIC, competency standards and independence requirements.

Topic 2 – Audit Standards

The module, Being an Auditor examined the compliance framework for the professional and statutory obligations that apply to auditors. This module examines the framework that applies to the conduct of the audit, comprising of Audit and Assurance Engagement Standards, and how it applies to the audit of an SMSF.

SMSF auditors are required to comply with the relevant audit standards published by the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AUASB). The AUASB has published Guidance Statement GS 009 ‘Auditing self-managed superannuation funds’ to assist auditors in meeting their obligations and to comply with the relevant audit standards.

Other modules discuss in further detail the practical application of the relevant audit standards.

Topic 3 – Preliminary Engagement Activities

Prior to the acceptance of any audit engagement, the auditor is required to perform preliminary procedures to assess whether it is appropriate that the audit engagement is accepted. These preliminary activities include the satisfaction of fundamental ethical requirements, quality control procedures and independence assessments. The auditor is required to document the agreed terms of the engagement addressing specific objects in the engagement document.

Whether the audit is a new engagement or a continuing engagement, the auditor is required to have established acceptance and continuance procedures. This module will examine these vital preliminary audit activities and the engagement process.

Topic 4 – Planning and Risk – Identification, Assessment and Response

As part of the audit process, the auditor seeks to reduce the risk of material misstatement to a suitably low level. The identification and assessment of actual or potential risk is therefore a key part of the audit process. A risk assessment will assist the auditor in determining the appropriate audit procedures based on the characteristics of the fund. Some high-risk areas for SMSFs include the risk of fraud, complex transactions, related party transactions and breaches of the SIS Act and SIS Regulations.

When it comes to audit evidence, there are several risk considerations in relation to its source, nature and circumstances under which it is obtained. For example, should the audit procedures differ where financial reporting processes are provided by SMSF software companies using data feeds? The assessment and consideration of risk facilitates the auditor’s design, documentation and implementation of the audit plan.

The materiality level set by the auditor will impact the risk of material misstatement. Materiality relies on the auditor exercising their professional judgement rather than the use of a prescriptive method of calculation. The auditor must use their skill, expertise, and experience to assess the information and documentation. The application of these audit procedures establishes the foundation for the audit and the nature and extent of the audit activities to be undertaken by the auditor.

Topic 5 – Conducting the Audit – Part A

Under section 35B(1) of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS Act), self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) trustees are required to ensure that a statement of financial position and an operating statement is prepared for each financial year. Section 35C of the SIS Act requires that those financial statements are audited by an approved SMSF auditor.

This module examines the processes and procedures required in undertaking the audit of the financial statements. This is Part A of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) prescribed audit report — Self-managed superannuation fund independent auditor’s report (2-15).

The previous modules have laid the foundation, covering the audit framework, preliminary audit procedures, and the preparation of the audit plan which is essential for conducting the audit.

This module looks at the practical application of these areas with regards to Part A of the SMSF audit.

Topic 6 – Conducting the Audit – Part B (Administration)

The SMSF auditor must form an opinion on an SMSFs compliance with prescribed requirements of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS Act) and Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 (SIS Regulations). This comprises Part B of the audit report. This part of the engagement is generally referred to as ‘the compliance audit’.

SMSF trustees must comply with legislative obligations in the SIS Act and SIS Regulations relating to the fund’s operation and administration. There are many such obligations. For this reason, SMSFs are not for the faint-hearted or careless. The SMSF auditor is a vital cog in this compliance landscape. As a regulator, the ATO prescribes a list of specific sections and regulations against which the auditor must evaluate and report on fund compliance. The regulator’s guidance is a minimum standard. The auditor may include other sections or regulations as suitable criteria in the compliance engagement.

The full list of reportable provisions is set out in QC45566. If an SMSF is found to be non-compliant, the trustees may be liable for fines and administrative penalties. In the worst contingency, the SMSF may lose its complying status and the significant benefits that complying funds enjoy, in addition to attracting some very nasty tax consequences. But more on this later.

In this module, the compliance audit has been categorised into four topics:

  • Introduction to the compliance audit. 
  • SMSF administration  
  • SMSF structural rules 
  • Member accounts   

Topic 7 – Conducting the Audit – Part B (Investments)

The SMSF auditor must form an opinion on the SMSF’s compliance with prescribed requirements of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS Act) and Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Regulations 1994 (SIS Regulations). This comprises Part B of the audit report and is generally referred to as ‘the compliance audit’.

SMSF trustees are required to comply with legislative obligations in the SIS Act and SIS Regulations that relate to the fund’s operation and administration. Trustees have many compliance obligations. For this reason, SMSFs are not for the faint-hearted or careless. The SMSF auditor is a vital cog in the SMSF compliance landscape. As a regulator, the ATO prescribes a list of specific sections and regulations against which the auditor must evaluate and report on fund compliance. The regulator’s guidance is a minimum standard. The auditor may include other sections or regulations as suitable criteria in the compliance engagement.

The full list of reportable provisions is set out in QC45566. If an SMSF is found to be non-compliant, the trustees may be liable for fines and administrative penalties. In the worst contingency, the SMSF may lose its complying status and the significant benefits that complying funds enjoy, in addition to attracting some very nasty tax consequences. But more on this later.

In this module, we continue our examination of the compliance audit with a focus on the investment rules.

We also examine the compliance requirements for the preparation of an SMSF’s investment strategy and the implications this requirement has for the auditor.

Topic 8 – Audit Reporting

The final part of the audit process is to form an audit opinion and prepare the audit report. The results of the audit are then communicated. Reporting in connection with the SMSF audit involves several dimensions and various parties.

These reporting obligations must be understood to ensure that auditors meet their professional obligations, discharge their duty to the regulator, and equip trustees with a timely and informative report. Penalties apply under the SIS Act for non-compliance with the auditor reporting requirements. This topic looks at the practical application of these areas with regards to Part A and Part B of the SMSF audit.

You are required to successfully complete the program within twelve months of entering the accreditation program.

The SMSF Association Standards of Professional Conduct for SMSF Specialist Auditors apply to all SMSF Specialist Auditors. As the ‘gatekeeper’ between the SMSF trustee and the Regulator it is imperative the SMSF Specialist Auditor performs their duties to best practice standards to continue building the integrity of the SMSF industry.

Prior to registering for the SMSF Specialist Auditor program you should review the following documents:

To apply you must be an SMSF Association Associate Member or SMSF Specialist Advisor. 

If you are not yet a member of the SMSF Association, follow the link below to become a member and add the SMSF Specialist Auditor program to your cart.  

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Associate Member

You must be an Associate Member in order to enrol in an SMSF Specialist program.

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