Prepare and collect evidence for audit
PO 17 is linked to Paper F2, Management Accounting, Paper F5, Performance Measurement, and Paper P5, Advanced Performance Measurement
How you conduct an audit is critical, not just to your own employer, but also to your client, your professional reputation, and the reputation of ACCA. It might even be that the outcomes of legal proceedings rest on how diligently and thoroughly you perform, especially for forensic work.
Audits cannot be carried out effectively without meticulous preparation, which starts with understanding your client’s personnel, management structures, operational systems and risk factors, as well as the sector within which it does business.
The amount, quality and relevance of the evidence you select to rely on, along with information you obtain from the client in the absence of evidence, will determine the accuracy of the conclusions you draw and the value of recommendations you make. And the recordkeeping for which you are personally responsible must itself be beyond reproach.
To effectively demonstrate your competency, you might:
- prepare and review audits, including meetings with clients and the audit team
- collect and analyse relevant client information (its trading position)
- document, review and (where relevant) test accounting, reporting, risk and control procedures and activities
- document and resolve issues arising during the audit with client staff
- describe relevant audit regulatory and legal frameworks
- identify audit-related professional and ethical considerations
- explain the role and processes of internal audit, review and control.
The next step is to answer the challenge questions for this objective:
- Describe your role and the experience you have had in relation to audits. Include your specific responsibilities on different audits. What did they involve and what was the purpose? Was it internal or external audit? What level of supervision were you subjected to, and/or who did you supervise? Who did you liaise with at your client firm? Give examples of the types of information you sought from them, or which you provided them with.
- With workplace illustrations, how have you found that ineffective planning undermines the quality of audit work? Say how lack of research or preparation would have impeded your effective performance. If relevant, give examples of instances where you observed the results of ineffective planning. You might also consider how ineffective planning would impact on the client’s perception of you, your team or the auditing profession.
- From your audit work, how have you been able to contribute to improved business performance? If you identified weaknesses (operational, financial or risk) and made subsequent recommendations, what were they? What were the results? Consider how readily your recommendations were accepted by the client and had tangible results. If you have conducted a subsequent audit at the same client firm, describe the difference between your observations on each occasion.