Audit documentation, also known as audit working papers, forms the backbone of an audit process. These papers serve as evidence of the work performed, explanations provided and conclusions reached by auditors.
The Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AASB) recognizes the importance of standardized audit documentation and has developed the publication “Audit Working Paper Templates” to assist auditors in maintaining consistent and effective records. This article explores the significance of audit working papers, the principles outlined in SA 230 (Audit Documentation) and the valuable templates included in the publication.
The Importance of Audit Working Papers
Audit working papers play a critical role in an audit engagement. They provide a comprehensive record of the auditor’s work, including the procedures performed, the information obtained and the conclusions drawn. These papers serve multiple purposes, such as:
i) Evidential Support: Audit working papers serve as evidence of the auditor’s procedures, findings and opinions. They provide a clear audit trail that can be reviewed by internal and external stakeholders, including regulators and other auditors.
ii) Documenting Compliance: Auditors must comply with SA 230 and other relevant auditing standards. The principles outlined in these standards guide auditors in preparing their working papers in a manner that meets the requirements and ensures compliance.
iii) Legal and Regulatory Requirements: Auditors are also obligated to prepare additional working papers in accordance with applicable legal and regulatory requirements. These papers demonstrate adherence to specific laws and regulations governing the audit.
SA 230: Principles of Audit Documentation
SA 230, also known as “Audit Documentation,” lays down the fundamental principles for audit working papers. These principles should be followed by auditors while complying with SA 230 and other auditing standards. Key principles of audit documentation include:
i) Sufficiency and Appropriateness: Working papers should provide sufficient and appropriate evidence to support the auditor’s findings and conclusions. They should be detailed enough to allow for the replication of audit procedures and provide a clear understanding of the work performed.
ii) Clear and Organized Structure: Audit working papers should be well-organized, enabling easy navigation and understanding. They should be structured logically with clear headings, cross-references and references to supporting documents.
iii) Consistency: Consistency in the presentation of audit working papers ensures clarity and facilitates review by other auditors and stakeholders. Consistent templates and formats enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the audit process.
ICAI Publication: “Audit Working Paper Templates”
The AASB has released the publication “Audit Working Paper Templates” to provide auditors with standardized templates for their audit documentation. This comprehensive publication serves as a valuable resource for auditors, offering templates for various types of audit working papers, including:
i) SA 230 Compliance: The templates in this section align with the requirements of SA 230 and serve as a guide for auditors to document their work appropriately.
ii) Specific Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Auditors are required to prepare working papers in accordance with applicable specific laws and regulations. The publication includes templates, such as the Schedule III of Companies Act 2013 checklist and CARO 2020 checklist, to assist auditors in meeting these specific requirements.
The templates provided in the publication are designed to be flexible, allowing auditors to adapt them based on the size, complexity and nature of the audited entity. It is essential for auditors to exercise their professional judgment and make necessary modifications to suit the specific circumstances of each audit engagement.
The publication “Audit Working Paper Templates” by the AASB of ICAI serves as an invaluable tool for auditors in creating consistent and effective audit documentation. By adhering to the principles outlined in SA 230 and utilizing the templates provided in the publication, the auditors can ensure the sufficiency, appropriateness and organization of their working papers. The AASB’s continuous support through training programs, implementation guides and technical literature further enhances auditors’ capabilities and enables them to conduct their audit engagements with efficiency and effectiveness. Auditors and firms should utilize the templates in conjunction with applicable auditing standards and guidance, making necessary modifications to suit the unique characteristics of each audit assignment.
ICAI Publication ‘Audit Working Paper Templates’ (June, 2023)