AA frequently asked questions (FAQs)

What is the expected level of seniority for an auditor attempting this exam.

Most questions will be set at the audit senior/manager level. Questions may be set at the junior level but it is extremely unlikely that there will be questions set at the partner level.

Is there any value in knowing all the ISAs and the ISA numbers?

No. Candidates need to have knowledge of the key points of the relevant ISAs and be able to apply the guidance included in the ISAs. There is no need to quote numbers and paragraphs in answers.

Can bullet points be used in answers?

Bullet points can be used in answers. However, each bullet must contain a complete sentence. The only exception to this is where the requirement asks candidates to 'list' a number of requested items, such as assertions or the elements of the auditor’s report. Each item identified would be worth ½ mark each and therefore may be provided without explanation.


How much detail will candidates be expected to go into for audit report questions?

Candidates need to be able to identify the basic elements of the auditor’s report and should be able to explain the effects of different modifications to both the report and the opinion. Candidates need to be able to discuss how the content of the report changes dependent on the opinion that is given ie basis for opinion paragraph for an unmodified report vs basis for qualified opinion where the opinion is qualified. Questions will not be set asking candidates to write out an audit report in its entirety.

Are intangible non-current assets examinable in this exam?

Yes. Candidates are expected to have knowledge of accounting standards listed under Financial Accounting (FA) and for Audit and Assurance (AA). Therefore intangible non-current assets are examinable.

Should questions be answered in order?

Not necessarily. Candidates may answer questions in any order they wish. Candidates should allocate appropriate time to read and plan their answers to the questions. It may be helpful to start with the longest question first.

Will internal audit be examined at every sitting?

Internal audit will not necessarily be examined at every single sitting going forward. However, it is an important area of the syllabus and is likely to be examined regularly.

How important are assurance engagements as opposed to standard audits?

Assurance will feature in future exams but it is a limited area of the syllabus.

Will candidates need to use a calculator in the exam?

Yes. Candidates may be asked to calculate materiality or to perform an analytical review by way of ratio analysis.

How are marks allocated for questions including the verbs ‘identify' and ‘state'?

For questions which require candidates to ‘identify' certain points within a scenario, generally half to one mark will be awarded for the identification of an issue.

Where candidates are asked to ‘state' various points, generally half to one mark will be available for each point made (eg the June 2015 exam asked candidates to state the auditor’s responsibilities in relation to the prevention and detection of fraud and error, and attracted one mark per point).

Could a 20-mark question be set on audit reports?

A full 20-mark question would not be set on reporting in isolation, but as reporting is a key aspect of the syllabus it may form a substantial part of a question.

Could candidates be asked about business as well as audit risk?

No. Business risk isn't part of the syllabus. However, candidates need an awareness of the auditor's responsibility for understanding the entity and its environment in planning questions. They should apply that knowledge to an audit risk area.

Is business risk examinable in the context of going concern?

Business risk is not examinable in relation to planning and risk assessment.

Candidates would not be asked a question requiring them to identify business risks in a scenario. However going concern indicators, which may technically be business risks, are examinable. ISA 570 is fully examinable as is the topic of going concern including going concern indicators.

To avoid confusing candidates, it would be preferable when teaching to refer to these as going concern indicators rather than business risks.

Is monetary unit sampling examinable?

Yes. Candidates are expected to be able to identify and describe the methods for picking a sample as per ISA 530, Audit Sampling.

Could candidates be expected to pick a sample?

No. Candidates are expected to understand the requirements of ISA 530 and be able to discuss the considerations that an auditor should make when using sampling techniques but a question will not be set where candidates will be asked to choose a sample.

Is error projection examinable?

Yes. Candidates are expected to be able to understand what the auditor should do where an error is found in a sample.

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