Navigation path

Search

Regulated profession

Back to homepage Back to previous screen
Spain

Auditor de cuentas (Spain)


  • Proportionality information

    1. Have you examined whether the requirements under your national legal system are
    directly or indirectly discriminatory on the basis of nationality or residence?
       

    There are no discriminatory requirements on the basis of nationality or residence for EU/EEA auditors. According to the Auditing Law, access to the profession requires registration in the Official Register of auditors, for which Spanish nationality or the nationality of one of the Member States of the EU is required (art. 8.1.b of the Auditing Law). Auditors approved to practice the audit activity in other EU Member State can register in the Official Register of Auditors. In order to be approved by the Accounting and Auditing Institute (ICAC) of the Ministry of Economy, auditors need to pass a competence test on Spanish regulation, the knowledge of which has not been proved in the Member State in which the auditor is approved (art. 9.1 of the Auditing Law). According to article 45 of Directive 2006/43/CE, auditors who are approved to practice the audit activity in third countries (non-EU/EEA countries) and who meet requirements equivalent to those established in article 8.2 of the Auditing Law (hold a university degree, have attended theoretical educational programs and acquired practical experience, and pass a professional competence examination organized and endorsed by the State) as well as the obligation to receive continuing education, will be eligible for registration in the Official Register of Auditors. In order to obtain approval from the ICAC, they must prove, at least, compliance with the requirements set forth in article 8.1 of the Auditing Law (be of legal age, not have a criminal record with intentional offences), pass a competence examination similar to that aforementioned, under the terms set forth in regulations. Additionally, auditors from third countries must have an address or permanent establishment in Spain or designate a representative with an address in Spain.


    2. Which of the following overriding reasons relating to the general interest justifies the measure(s)?
         
    • Public policy
    •    
    • Protection of consumers and recipients of services
    •    
    • Protection of creditors

    3. What specific risks or benefits have you identified that your measure(s) is designed to, respectively, minimise or maximise?

       Please try to be specific in describing the nature of the risks/benefits you have identified
       Where you have selected more than one overriding reason relating to the general interest in question 2 please be sure to address each of these in your response. Wherever possible please include evidence.

       1/ University degree, theoretical educational programs, practical training, professional competence examination and continuing education: harmonize and maximize the educational level of auditors. 2/ Majority of voting rights: safeguard the professional management of auditors and audits firms and protect their independence. 3/ Professional indemnity insurance: cover the damages caused by their professional conduct. 4/ Auditors from third countries must have an address or permanent establishment in Spain or designate a representative with an address in Spain: ensure the application of public oversight procedures on the basis of home country control. 5/ Reserved activities: use auditor’s expertise to actively challenge the management of audited entities from a user’s perspective by examining the financial statements prepared by this management; strengthen the reliability of the audited financial statements; and, in insolvency administration, guarantee the due satisfaction of the creditors’ claims and the proper management of the company in insolvency.

    4. How specifically do your measures operate to minimise the risk(s) or maximise the benefit(s) identified in question 3?

       When addressing this question please try to explain how the measures prevent the risks or guarantee the benefits.
       Where you have selected more than one overriding reason relating to the general interest in question 2 please be sure to address each of these in your response. Wherever possible please include evidence.

       

    1/ University degree, theoretical educational programs, practical training, professional competence examination and continuing education: Statutory audit requires adequate knowledge of matters such as the regulatory framework for financial information; financial analysis; analytical cost accounting and management accounting; risk management and internal monitoring; auditing and rules of access; applicable regulations to monitoring auditing, auditors and audit firms; international auditing standards; and standards on ethics and independence, along with the knowledge of law on companies, other entities and governance; insolvency, tax, civil and commercial law; social security and employment law; information technology and computer systems; business, general and financial economy; mathematics and statistics; and basic principles of the financial management of undertakings. The objective of continuing education is to maintain the appropriate level of requirements with regard to updating knowledge, within a financial and mercantile setting in continuous change and progressively more complex. 2/ Majority of voting rights: This measure is also a safeguard in the sense that, if the majority of voting rights are held by auditors, their interests and the interest of the audit activity, which is the public interest protection, will not be jeopardized by the interests of the non-auditor partners of the firm. This measure also helps professionalizing the management of auditors and audit firms. 3/ Professional indemnity insurance: This measure provides a guarantee that provides a permanent, individualized and sufficient surety of compensation for damages caused as a result of breach of their obligations. 4/ Auditors from third countries must have an address or permanent establishment in Spain or designate a representative with an address in Spain: All auditors and audit firms (including from a third country) registered in the Official Register of Auditors are subject, in the performance of the audit activity, to the public, objective and independent supervision system by the Accounting and Auditing Institute (ICAC) of the Ministry of Economy. However, ICAC has not cross-border powers to oversee this public oversight system. It would be easier for an auditor from a third country to elude the ICAC’s control on the basis of unknown address/recipient or problems with the language. 5/ Reserved activities: The multidisciplinary knowledge and experience of the auditor pursues minimizing financial and management risks by obtaining the evidence that the financial statements are free of errors and by issuing an opinion that the financial statements provide a true and fair view of the audited entities in accordance with the regulatory framework on financial reporting and insolvency administration.


    5. In so far as you are able, please provide information that you have gathered regarding the concrete effects of the measure(s).

       For example, through impact assessments or information gathered during implementation or review of a measure. Member States who have recently undergone reforms may in particular be able to contribute helpfully to this field. Where you are able to provide cost-benefit analyses this would be particularly valuable.
       Information on whether the measures indeed successfully prevented risks from being realised (e.g. the number of sanctions imposed, a drop in transgressions since the measure was introduced or consequences from previous modifications of the regulation) would equally be helpful.
       Where you have selected more than one overriding reason relating to the general interest in question 2 please be sure to address each of these in your response. You may also wish to include evidence on consumer satisfaction or other measurements of the impact.

       

    Not available.


    6. Is the general interest objective you indicated in question 2 pursued in a consistent and systematic manner?.

       In approaching your response to this question please consider examples where you have addressed similar risks for comparable professions, not necessarily within the same sector. Is the approach you have adopted in this particular profession comparable or distinct from such similar cases and why?

       

    The objectives to be pursued may be comparable with other professionals in Spain which are regulated due to the technical knowledge of their fields of activity and the need to supervise financial legality and regularity of the activities undertaken by private and public entities, to prevent fraud and to protect the interest of creditors and other parties in insolvency proceedings. That is, for example, the case of actuaries, economists and lawyers. The restrictions to access to these professions include, for instance, reserved activities, professional indemnity insurance and compulsory registration in the professional body. With regard to auditors, registration in the professional association is voluntary, although the registration in the Official Register of Auditors is required to access to the profession.


    7. Please explain in how far the degree of complexity or the nature of the activities
    which are reserved justify that these activities can be exclusively performed by professionals possessing a specific professional qualification?

       For example: when the tasks are essentially of a straightforward nature (such as preparing and printing pay slips etc.), or involve essentially the execution of instructions, specific professional aptitudes should not be required.

       

    The audit activity requires that auditors have a sufficient legal and regulatory knowledge. This covers the regulatory framework for financial information; financial analysis; analytical cost accounting and management accounting; risk management and internal monitoring; auditing and rules of access; applicable regulations to monitoring auditing, auditors and audit firms; along with the knowledge of standards on auditing, ethical standards and independence, amongst others. In addition, the audit activity has as a specific objective the protection of the public interest, requiring that auditors possess a specific education and training and specific powers for the ICAC in order to develop the public oversight system.


    8. Where you have indicated several measures in place in the screening tab,
    have you reviewed the cumulative effect of all these measures on professional activities?

       If not, why not?
       If yes, please outline for us how you approached assessing this issue as well as the results and conclusions or any learning you drew from this. Where possible please include evidence.

       

    The cumulative effect of the measures was reviewed in the framework of a legal reform project on professional services, which included a hearing with the professional organizations. The conclusions of the assessment led to maintain the reserve of activities, due to the effects of the auditing activity on the trust of third parties and being the regulation in accordance with European law.


    9. Have you considered the use of alternative mechanisms to achieve your objective(s)?
         
    • Other, please specify

       Please briefly explain. Where you have selected more than one option, please be sure to address each of these in your response.

       

    Transposition of Directive 2006/43/EC as amended by Directive 2014/56/EU is on-going. This reform allows reducing certain requirements for small auditors.


    10. Conclusion

       Following your internal examination of this regulated profession, which of the following have you concluded?

    •    Improve current system (simplify guidance, remove burdensome aspects etc.)

       Explain where relevant:

       See previous response. Certain requirements for small auditors will be reduced.

    11. Any other comments?
       No further comments
Each country is responsible for updating information, on its regulated professions, competent authorities and statistics.
The Commission cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the information. However, if errors are brought to its attention, the Commission undertakes to correct them, if deemed appropriate.

The Commission is in the process of updating some of the content on this website in the light of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union. If the site contains content that does not yet reflect the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, it is unintentional and will be addressed.