China outlines data security regulations for auditors

2023-11-14 13:30:47Global Times Editor : Li Yan ECNS App Download

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission have drafted a set of new rules to strengthen data security regulation on auditors in line with the country's laws and regulations including the Data Security Law and the Network Security Law.

Industry analysts said that the new draft will have no impact on foreign auditors' business in the Chinese mainland, as it aims to strengthen data security management rather than tightening regulation on business operations.

According to the circular posted on the website of the MOF, auditors should try to improve data security management. Their audit working papers and related data should be stored within Chinese borders and there should not be data backup outside the country.

Auditors will be required to apply for regulatory approval if the working papers are to be sent overseas. In this regard, auditors need to undergo additional checks and take necessary measures to strictly implement management responsibility of all sensitive information, the circular noted.

The transmission of auditors' core data should be encoded so as to ensure its security, the circular said.

In addition, auditors' contracts with their clients, and related documents, should not involve such clause as agreeing to provide overseas regulators data about auditing projects that are conducted in China.

The draft is open for public consultation until December 11.

A partner of a Chinese subsidiary of the world's Big Four accounting firm, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the issue, told the Global Times that the new regulations will not have an impact on the work already done on the Chinese mainland. "In our accounting work, we always strictly manage data security," he said.


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