Independence: Being independent and being perceived to be independent is necessary for an APSCA
Member Firm to deliver independent social compliance audits that provide confidence. It is important that all
audit firm personnel are aware of the need for independence to conduct social compliance audits.
It is recognized that the source of revenue for an APSCA Member Firm is its client paying for social
compliance audit services, and this is a potential threat to independence.
It is essential that an APSCA Member Firm’s decisions be based on objective evidence obtained by the
Member Firm through Member Auditors, and that its decisions are not influenced by other interests.
Threats to independence may include, but are not limited to, the following:
Self-interest: a Member Firm and/or Member Auditor acting in their own interest, including financial
interests and interests relating to the provision of social compliance audit services to clients where other
services are also provided.
Self-review: a Member Auditor reviewing the work done by themselves or another member of the same
firm; e.g., auditing the management systems of a client for whom the Member Firm and/ or Member
Auditor provided management systems consultancy on related topics.
Familiarity (and trust): a Member Firm and/ or Member Auditor being too familiar with or trusting of
another person instead of seeking audit evidence.
Intimidation: a Member Firm and/ or Member Auditor having a perception of being coerced openly or
covertly, such as a threat to be replaced or reported to a supervisor.
Management of Independence
Social compliance audit services shall be undertaken independently. All audit firm personnel, who
could influence social compliance audit services, shall act independently and shall not allow
commercial, financial or other pressures to compromise their independence.
The Member Firm shall have top management commitment to independence in social compliance audit
services. The Member Firm shall have a policy stating that it understands the importance of independence
in carrying out its social compliance audit services, manages conflicts of interest and ensures the objectivity
and effectiveness of same. The Member Firm shall require all audit firm personnel to reveal any situation
which can present them or the Member Firm with a conflict of interest. Member Firms shall record and use
this information as input to identify threats to independence raised by the activities of audit firm personnel
or by their relationship with organizations that commission their services.
The Member Firm shall have a process to:
Identify, analyze, evaluate, treat, monitor, and document the risks related to conflict of interest
arising from provision of social compliance audit services including any conflict which arises from
its relationships on an ongoing basis. Sources of threats to independence of the Member Firm
can be based on ownership, governance, management, personnel, shared resources, finances,
contracts, training, marketing and payment of a sales commission or other inducement for the
referral of new clients.
Where there are threats to independence, the Member Firm shall document and demonstrate how
it eliminates or minimizes such threats and document any residual risk. The demonstration shall
cover all potential threats that are identified, whether they arise from within the Member Firm or
from the activities of other persons, bodies or organizations.
The Member Firm shall not conduct an audit when the Member Firm (including, but not limited to, owners,
managers, or auditors) has a business interest in the outcome of the audit (this includes, but is not limited
to, fees or other business contingent on the outcome of the audit).
The Member Firm shall not perform social compliance audit services at any facility where the Member Firm,
its owners or managers have provided social compliance consultancy within the preceding two (2) years.
To ensure there is no conflict of interest, audit firm personnel who have provided consultancy,
including those acting in a managerial capacity, shall not be used by the Member Firm to take part in
a social compliance audit or other social compliance audit services if they have been involved in social
compliance consultancy for the client in the preceding two (2) years.
Version & Date:：
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APSCA Glossary of Terms D-031
Version 8 – October 2023
Version 7 – May 2023
APSCA President & CEO
APSCA Executive Board