Entities that need an external audit

External audits in financial transparency and accounting play an essential role in ensuring that an organisation’s financial statements and reporting are accurate and reliable.

Like many other countries, Ireland has well-established rules and standards about external audits to maintain the integrity of financial statements and protect stakeholders’ interests.

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The regulatory framework in Ireland has evolved to include an array of entities that require external audits, ranging from governmental bodies and nonprofit organisations, to publicly traded companies and pension funds to safeguard the public interest, uphold financial accountability, and maintain overall economic stability.

Let us find out which organisations in Ireland need external audit.

Table of contents

What companies require an external audit in Ireland?
Do private companies need external audits?
Wrapping up

What companies require an external audit in Ireland?

Depending on the nature and size of an organisation, Irish law mandates periodic external audits. The following types of organizations most frequently necessitate an outside auditor:

1.Public Limited Companies (PLCs)

Shares of public limited companies trade on the stock exchanges.

Publicly traded businesses, PLCs, are subject to strict rules and must perform annual external audits.

2.Designated Activity Companies (DACs)

DACs are a particular category of private corporations that may require an external audit depending on their size and workforce.

In general, DACs must submit to an external audit if the annual revenue exceeds €8.8 million or their total assets exceed €4.4 million. 

DACs must include “Designated Activity Agency” or “Cuideachta Ghníomhaíochta Ainmnithe” in their name.

3.Financial institutions

The government carefully monitors financial institutions like banks and credit unions. 

Banks and credit unions operating in Ireland are subject to strict financial controls, including external audits.

The financial system’s stability depends on the financial performance of these institutions’ transparent reporting.

4.Regulated entities

External audits are commonplace for businesses in highly regulated sectors like healthcare and insurance.

5.Voluntarily audited companies

Even if a business does not meet the mandatory audit criteria, some businesses may choose to get one.

This step can be strategic if you are trying to gain credibility before potential investors or funders.

Do private companies need external audits?

A frequent question is whether or not private companies require external audits.

Not all Irish private companies need an external audit.

However, strong arguments favor private companies voluntarily choosing to undergo external audits.

● Enhanced credibility

An external audit bolsters the credibility of a private company’s financial statements and reports.

This credibility can be invaluable when negotiating with investors, lenders, and prospective business partners. 

Private companies still benefit from external audit transparency. Transparent financial reporting can be a competitive advantage, attracting investors and partners.

● Improved internal control

Though not an internal audit, external auditors review the company’s internal control systems as part of their audit procedures.

Their recommendations can aid in identifying weaknesses and improving operational efficiency, thereby reducing the likelihood of financial errors and fraud.

● Legal compliance

Although not required for all private companies, audits are required for DACs that meet certain size requirements.

A violation of this requirement may result in legal penalties and fines.

Compliance with Irish Law is a key reason private companies conduct external audits when they meet certain size criteria.

Failure to do so may result in legal penalties and damage the company’s reputation.

● Stakeholder confidence

In an increasingly competitive business environment, stakeholders, such as customers and suppliers, may prefer to do business with organizations that undergo external audits. It demonstrates a dedication to openness and accountability. 

While private companies do not have public shareholders, they often have investors, creditors, and other stakeholders. External audits give these parties confidence in the financial health of the company.

● Tax implications

Certain tax exemptions and incentives may be contingent upon submitting audited financial statements. Choosing an external audit can assist in optimizing tax benefits.

● Succession planning

Auditing financial statements simplifies the due diligence process for prospective buyers or successors if a private company has plans for succession or a potential sale in the future.

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Wrapping up

Ultimately, these audits are advantageous to the institutions and improve the overall dependability and stability of the Irish financial system.

Outside of publicly traded enterprises, external audits are necessary in Ireland.

Depending on their size, activity, and legal environment, various entities may be required to conduct external audits, including private firms, DACs, charities, and regulated institutions. There are compelling reasons for private enterprises to think about voluntarily undergoing external audits, even though they are not required to do so.

Ultimately, these audits promote long-term financial health and transparency in the Irish business environment by enhancing credibility and positively contributing to improved internal controls, legal compliance, and stakeholder confidence.