ENGLISH SUMMARY

HTM-auditors’ association
and its 800 members

For additional information please contact:

Tel. +358 9 4767 9301
Fax +358 9 4767 9306
info(at)htm.fi

HTM-tilintarkastajat ry
Kastelholmantie 2
FI-00900 Helsinki
FINLAND

Links to other sites regarding auditing in Finland:

Auditing Act

the Auditing Board of the Central Chamber of Commerce

Ministry of Employment and the Economy / Auditing

Ministry of Employment and the Economy/Accounting

Invest in Finland /Setting up a business / Useful links

General

HTM-tilintarkastajat ry (the Registered Association of Certified HTM-Auditors) was founded in 1951 and it represents in Finland the larger one of the two professional organizations of auditors recognised by law. Its nearly 800 members are authorised and controlled by Auditing Boards of the Central and regional Chambers of Commerce and supervised by the Central Chamber of Commerce (http://www.keskuskauppakamari.fi/kkk/palvelut/Auditing/en_GB/Auditing/) and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy (http://www.tem.fi/index.phtml?l=en&s=948). The members of the HTM-Auditors’ Association are authorised to carry out external audits and to give signed auditor’s reports and statements as defined in the Auditing Act and required by the Accounting Act and Ordinance as well as laws on corporate entities e.g. limited companies, general and limited partnerships, foundations, co-operatives.

Members in official register

The members of the association consist of natural persons who are certified auditors (in Finnish: hyväksytty tilintarkastaja, HTM and KHT). The ordinary members must hold a valid licence. The Auditing Board of the Central Chamber of Commerce keeps the official register of those certified auditors who hold a valid licence in Finland and issues extracts from the register at request. The use of the title certified auditor (HTM and KHT) is restricted by law to only those in the register.

Qualifications

The certified auditors fulfil the requirements of the EC’s 8th directive on qualifications of persons allowed to carry out statutory audits. In addition to the three years’ practical experience they have university level education in business administration in specified subjects. They have also passed a very demanding professional auditor’s examination which was introduced in 1970. More information about the auditors’ examinations can be obtained from the Central Chamber of Commerce.

Profile of members

In Finland auditing and accounting/bookkeeping have been strictly divided into two separate professions. Majority of the members are sole practitioners or work in small audit and accountancy firms. Ca 6 % of the members work in the ‘big 4’ audit firms, 70 % of the members are males and 30 % females, ca 50 % of the members are born in 1940-1950.
Also auditor assistants who are gaining practical experience in audit work and are aiming at auditor’s examination can be accepted as registered assistants.
The clients of the members are mainly small and medium-sized companies.

Audit thresholds

An auditor shall be appointed for a corporation or a foundation and an audit shall be carried out in accordance with the provisions laid down in auditing act and elsewhere in the law.
Unless otherwise provided elsewhere in the law, there is no obligation to appoint an auditor for a corporation where not more than one of the following conditions were met in both the past completed financial year and the financial year immediately preceding it:

1) the balance sheet total exceeds 100.000 euros;
2) net sales or comparable revenue exceeds 200.000 euros; or
3) the average number of employees exceeds three.

Services to clients

The main services given by the members include statutory audits as well as advice and assurance services in the below mentioned areas provided that objectivity and integrity are maintained.
• Financial statements
• Corporate governance
• Corporate and individual taxation
• Financing activities
• Company analysis and arrangements, such as eg. acquisitions and mergers

Professional indemnity insurance

The association’s membership fee includes a professional indemnity insurance which covers auditing damages up to 5.000.000 euros.

Representation in national supervisory and standard setting bodies

The association is permanently represented in the State Auditing Board, the Auditing Board of the Central Chamber of Commerce, the Audit Committees of the regional Chambers of Commerce, the Committee for Good Auditing Practice and the Accounting Standards Setting Body as well as in many project groups. In addition the association’s opinion is officially and unofficially requested in the Parliament and in many important matters affecting the business environment.

International contacts

The association is a full member of International Federation of Accountants IFAC and the Fédération des Experts Comptables Européens (FEE). In both international organisations we have a special interest in the work of the SME SMP committee and working party.
The association is also member of NRF - the Nordic Federation of Auditors, which represents all audit professionals in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
The associations' representatives have participated in the European Commission's meetings of the Committee on Auditing and have contacts with EU and EP representatives.

Membership magazine ”HTM-GRM Info” and eNews

The association publishes a membership magazine HTM-GRM Info (in Finnish only) to its members 4 times a year. The main objective of the newsletter is to inform the members of current auditing, accountancy and taxation matters, new legislation, decisions of the accounting standards setting board and auditing boards and of the training activities of the association and its regional divisions. eNews are sent in between the publishing of the membership magazine.

Quality program:
Quality training, auditing tools and quality assurance; monitored peer review

In 1995 the association introduced the quality program to its members.

- Quality training / Continuous education program

The program was commenced in 1995 with a quality training program which continues as continuous education program. It offers those members who are registered in the training program a regular updating in auditing and related matters. Participation in five full days of specified instruction annually is recommended. More than 500 members have been registered in the training program which is so far on voluntary basis. The supervisory body however requires that auditors must show that they have kept their knowledge uptodate.

- Auditing tools

The association’s quality program further includes the development of auditing tools. In 1998 an Auditor's Workbook –program was distributed to all members of the association. The workbook has bee futher developed over the years and is now available to members by email only.

- Quality assurance controls since 1998

As the third phase of the quality program, a mandatory quality assurance was commenced in January 1998. All members of the association are subjected to a quality assurance examination at 5 years’ intervals. During 1998-1999 a pilot phase was executed. From year 2000 compulsory examinations were carried out for ca 200 members annually.

Due to new auditing act (459/13.4.2007) the Auditing Board of the Central Chamber of Commerce has been in charge of overseeing the quality control since 2009 (Chapter 7, Section 40).

While overseeing the quality assurance of auditors, the Board:
1) orders an auditor to a quality assurance review at least every six years or, in the case of an
auditor who audits an entity subject to public trading, at least every three years;
2) designates one or more independent reviewers to conduct quality assurance reviews;
3) determines the contents and the manner of implementation of the quality assurance review; and
4) processes the results of a quality assurance review and decides on measures to be taken on the basis of the review.

A quality assurance reviewer shall have a thorough knowledge of auditing, together with specific training qualifying him or her for quality assurance reviews. A quality assurance reviewer designated by the Central Chamber of Commerce shall without delay submit to the Auditing Board of the CentralChamber of Commerce a report on the quality assurance review conducted, and a quality assurance reviewer designated by a local Chamber of Commerce shall submit a corresponding report to the Auditing Committee of the local Chamber of Commerce. A quality assurance reviewer shall observe the provisions laid down in the Administrative Procedure Act (434/2003; hallintolaki), the Language Act (423/2003; kielilaki) and the Act on the Openness of Government Activities. The provisions regarding penal liability in public office shall be applied to a quality assurance reviewer in the conduct of activities relating to quality assurance. Quality assurance reviews shall not be conducted in any place within the scope of domestic peace.

The association works in cooperation with the Auditing Board to give input and develop the quality control system.