Objectives and Remits
The Auditor Oversight Commission (AOC) was established
according to the Auditor Oversight Law from December
The legislator`s objective is to submit the German
audit profession, i.e. Wirtschaftsprüfer and vereidigte
Buchprüfer, under an independent oversight with
ultimate responsibility. For this reason, the Chamber
of Public Accountants (WPK) who has always been subject
to state supervision administered by the Federal
Ministry of Economics and Technology is now also subject
to public oversight by the AOC. WPK is formed as a corporation
under public law and all public accountants are mandatory
members. According to the law, WPK is also an element
of indirect state administration. With the integration
of the AOC in the public oversight regime, the basic
principle of professional self-regulation is still preserved.
The installation of the AOC on January 1, 2005 followed national, European
and international initiatives to strengthen the quality,
independence and integrity of the audit profession and
is to this day an element to preserve confidence in the statutory
The AOC is supervised by the Federal Ministry of Economics
and Technology. It has at least six and at most ten honorary
members, appointed by the Ministry. The commissioners
shall not have been personal members of WPK, i.e. public
accountants, in the past five years prior to their appointment.
They are supposed to be or have been active in the fields
of accounting, finance, economy, academics or jurisdiction.
The Auditor Oversight Commission is in charge of public
professional oversight towards the WPK,
as far as WPK accomplishes tasks according to Article
4, paragraph 1, first sentence of the Public Accountant
Act, with respect to individual professionals and auditing
firms who are entitled to perform statutory audits or
who do so de facto without being entitled. The Commission
is independent and free of instructions.
The AOC’s remits comprise the professional examination
and aptitude tests for foreign auditors, licensing,
revocation of licenses and registration, disciplinary
oversight, quality assurance and the adoption of professional
rules. In cases of professional supervision with cross-border
importance the AOC is the contact for authorities from
The Commission supervises WPK on whether it fulfils
its legal obligations in a suitable and adequate manner.
The AOC is the competent authority for the organisation and performance of inspections of audit firms of public interest entities.
The AOC publishes an annual work plan and an annual
Since its installation the AOC is very much committed to close cooperation of independent audit regulators. The AOC is member of the European Group of Auditors’ Oversight Bodies (EGAOB) and the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR).