Registered auditors

The financial reports of organisations and their branches must be audited by a registered auditor. This is required by the Fair Work (Registered Organisations) Act 2009 (the RO Act).

This page provides information about an auditor’s powers and duties as well as how to become a registered auditor. You can also find out whether a person is a registered auditor by referring to the register of auditors. 

The register of auditors

The auditors of registered organisations must be separately registered with the ROC. Registration as a company auditor with ASIC does not entitle an auditor to audit a registered organisation. Registered company auditors who apply for registration with the ROC are, however, subject to reduced assessment criteria.

The register of auditors lists all the auditors registered by the ROC.

A registered auditor must advise the ROC of any changes in circumstances that could materially affect the person’s registration within 14 days of the change in circumstances. A failure to report a change in circumstances may result in the imposition of a civil penalty. A registered auditor can make amendments to their entry in the register by completing the form below:

Change in details of a registered auditor form

To submit a change of details form, make enquires or lodge complaints about registered auditors please contact the ROC via regorgs@roc.gov.au

Eligibility to hold the position of auditor

The position of auditor must be held by:

  • an individual who is a registered auditor and who is not an excluded auditor (see s. 6 RO Act)
  • a firm with at least one member who is a registered auditor and where no members are an excluded auditor
  • a company with at least one director, officer or employee who is a registered auditor and where there is no director, officer or employee who is an excluded auditor.

The individual, firm or company must resign from the position of auditor if they no longer fit the description above.

Powers and duties of auditors

The auditor is entitled to full and free access to all records and other documents of the reporting unit relating to the financial report. They are also entitled to seek information and explanations for the purpose of the audit.

Additionally, the auditor: 

  • must be forwarded notices of meetings at which the report is presented
  • has a right to attend and speak at a meeting concerning the financial report or their appointment
  • enjoys qualified privilege against defamation
  • must have their reasonable fees and expenses paid by the reporting unit
  • can only be removed in accordance with the requirements of the RO Act.

There are penalties for obstructing auditors.

If an auditor suspects there has been a breach of the RO Act or the Reporting Guidelines, and believes the matter cannot be adequately dealt with by comment in a report or by reporting the matter to the committee of management of the reporting unit, the auditor must report the matter to the Registered Organisations Commissioner (the Commissioner).

Penalties

There are penalty provisions in the RO Act concerning the auditor, their appointment and the audit of financial reports. 

The registration of auditors

To become a registered auditor, you must complete the form below and be approved by the Commissioner. The auditor must be registered before accepting the appointment as an auditor of an organisation or a branch of an organisation.  

If you are already a registered company auditor under the Corporations Act, download and complete this form: 

Application for registration as a registered auditor by an individual who is a registered company audit

If you are not a registered company auditor under the Corporations Act, download and complete the following forms:

Download: 

Submit forms to regorgs@roc.gov.au

For further information about the registration of auditors you can download the guidance note  

The rotation of auditors

The RO Act limits the number of consecutive years that a registered auditor (or their firm) can audit the financial report of a reporting unit. 

An individual can only participate in the audit of a reporting unit for five consecutive years (or five out of seven consecutive years). This rotation commenced from 2 May 2017.

The ROC monitors financial reports to ensure reporting units appropriately rotate their auditors.

Rotation of auditors factsheet

Cancellation or suspension of registration 

Registered auditors can lodge this form if they wish to cancel or suspend their registration. If your registration as an auditor was on the basis that you were a registered company auditor you must also complete and lodge this form with the ROC if your registration as a company auditor has been cancelled or suspended.

Cancellation or suspension of auditor registration

The Commissioner may cancel or suspend registration if the auditor:

  • has failed to carry out their duties under the RO Act
  • has not performed audit work during a period of not less than five years and consequently does not have the requisite experience, or
  • is otherwise not a fit and proper person to remain registered.

In the above instances, the Commissioner must notify the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) of any suspension or cancellation and the reasons for the suspension or cancellation.

The Commissioner must inform the auditor of the decision to cancel or suspend their registration no later than 14 days after the decision has been made. The reasons for the decision must be provided.