Technical articles

Technical articles

Risk and understanding the entity
Candidates studying Audit and Assurance (AA) and Advanced Audit and Assurance (AAA) are often presented with questions that focus on the planning stage of the audit. A sound understanding of ISA 315 (Revised 2019) is therefore essential.

The audit of assertions
This article focuses on assertions as identified by ISA 315 (Revised) and also provides useful guidance to candidates on how to tackle questions dealing with these.

The auditor’s report
The completion of an IAASB project in 2015 resulted in a set of new and revised standards on auditor reporting. These standards are examinable from the September 2016 exam session, meaning that AA and AAA candidates will be expected to understand the requirements and responsibilities of the auditor as set out in the standards.

Laws and regulations
It is important that candidates preparing for AA have an understanding of how laws and regulations affect an audit, not only in terms of the work the auditor is required to do, but also to appreciate the responsibilities of both management and the auditor where laws and regulations are concerned. 

Using the work of internal auditors
Also available as a podcast on iTunes
This article focuses on the provision of direct assistance by the internal auditors, which – to date – has been a very controversial issue. Although internal auditors are the employees of the entity, which could result in threats to independence (either in fact or perceived) if direct assistance is provided by the internal auditors, there are benefits relating to this provision which cannot be ignored. 

The audit of wages
Also available as a podcast on iTunes
The most common payroll frauds can affect even those companies that appear to have good internal controls. This article sets out to help AA/FAU candidates better identify significant deficiencies in internal control, explain the implications of the deficiencies and recommend appropriate controls. It considers the different stages in a typical wages system – for example, what tasks should be undertaken during both the interim audit and final audit stages – as well as the link between control objectives, controls and audit tests.

Going concern
It is essential that candidates preparing for the AA exam understand the respective responsibilities of auditors and management regarding going concern. This article discusses these responsibilities, as well as the indicators that could highlight where an entity may not be a going concern, and the reporting aspects relating to going concern.

Audit risk
This article outlines and explains the concept of audit risk, making reference to the key auditing standards which give guidance to auditors about risk assessment

Audit sampling
This article will consider the various sampling methods in the context of AA and FAU.

Subsequent events
This article considers how subsequent events can affect an entity's financial statements, and discusses the auditing requirements AA candidates need to know.

Specific aspects of auditing in a computer-based environment
This article provides guidance on various aspects of auditing in a computer-based accounting environment.

ISA 330 and responses to assessed risks
Outlining the requirements of ISA 330.

Audit working papers
How working papers provide evidence that an effective, efficient, and economic audit has been carried out.

Analytical procedures
An outline of the analytical procedures relevant to the audit papers.

Auditing in a computer-based environment
The aim of this article is to help students improve their understanding of computer-assisted techniques by giving practical illustrations of computer-based controls and the way they may feature in exam questions.


Study support videos

AA session CBE exam technique
Conor Motyer, ACCA course director at learnsignal, provides advice on how to approach an Audit and Assurance exam question.
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Exam question 16 debrief
Our CBE question debrief video looks at question 16 from the September 2016 exam. It covers internal controls.

Internal controls (part 1)
Paul Kirkwood, a tutor from Kaplan, focuses on the key internal controls syllabus areas in AA. He also provides guidance on answering multiple-choice questions on internal controls.
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Internal controls (part 2)
Paul Kirkwood continues his focus on the key internal controls syllabus areas in AA and discusses how to attempt longer type questions on internal controls.
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Bringing an AA exam question to life
Do you find it difficult to answer AA exam questions? Perhaps you don’t have any real-life audit experience, which makes it even harder? Use nine minutes to watch this video which will help you take the exam into the real world.

Audit evidence
Sally Vernon from BPP focuses on the area of audit evidence including a   discussion on the theory of audit evidence and tests of control versus substantive procedures.
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Audit risk
John Glover from Kaplan Financial takes a look at how to approach audit risk questions using past ACCA exam questions to illustrate the key points.
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Exam techniques and last-minute tips
Julie Corkish, education technical adviser at ACCA, provides useful insight which might make the difference between a fail and a pass in your exam, using comments regularly made by the examiner. 

Advice for students retaking exams
This video is about turning your exam fail into a pass at your next attempt. It suggests ways to reflect on where you went wrong, how to draw up an effective study plan, and practising exam questions.

Exam technique

Examiner approach
This article considers the examiner’s approach to the AA exam.

Objective questions for session CBEs
What you need to know about the objective test questions for session CBEs for PM, TX, FR, AA and FM.

Answering audit risk questions
This article aims to identify the most common mistakes made by candidates in answering audit risk questions as well as clarifying how such questions should be tackled in order to maximise marks.

AA – A guide to using the examiner’s reports
Guidance to help you if you are taking the AA exam for the first time as this takes you through how to use the examiner’s reports as part of your revision phase as directed by the study support guides. This document will help you to understand how you should be using the examiner’s reports to make the best use of them.

AA – A guide to reflection for retake students
Guidance to help you if you are retaking the AA exam as this takes you through the process of reflection using the examiner’s reports as directed in the retake guides. This document will help you to understand how you should be using the examiner’s reports to make the best use of them.

Exam support resources

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