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Notes ACCA Paper F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance For exams in 2014

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

Contents

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About ExPress Notes

3

1.

Audit Reports

7

2.

Ethics

12

3.

Auditor Appointment

15

4.

Audit Letters

19

5.

Audit Risk

23

6.

Internal Control

26

7.

Internal Control & Audit in a Computer Environment

29

8.

Internal Audit

32

9.

Audit Evidence

34

10.

Inventory

37

11.

Subsequent Events

40

12.

Going Concern

43

13.

Corporate Governance

46

Š 2014 The ExP Group. Individuals may reproduce this material if it is for their own private study use only. Reproduction by any means for any other purpose is prohibited. These course materials are for educational purposes only and so are necessarily simplified and summarised. Always obtain expert advice on any specific issue. Refer to our full terms and conditions of use. No liability for damage arising from use of these notes will be accepted by the ExP Group.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

START About ExPress Notes We are very pleased that you have downloaded a copy of our ExPress notes for this paper. We expect that you are keen to get on with the job in hand, so we will keep the introduction brief. First, we would like to draw your attention to the terms and conditions of usage. It’s a condition of printing these notes that you agree to the terms and conditions of usage. These are available to view at www.theexpgroup.com. Essentially, we want to help people get through their exams. If you are a student for the ACCA exams and you are using these notes for yourself only, you will have no problems complying with our fair use policy. You will however need to get our written permission in advance if you want to use these notes as part of a training programme that you are delivering. WARNING! These notes are not designed to cover everything in the syllabus! They are designed to help you assimilate and understand the most important areas for the exam as quickly as possible. If you study from these notes only, you will not have covered everything that is in the ACCA syllabus and study guide for this paper. Components of an effective study system On ExP classroom courses, we provide people with the following learning materials:    

The ExPress notes for that paper The ExP recommended course notes / essential text or the ExPedite classroom course notes where we have published our own course notes for that paper The ExP recommended exam kit for that paper. In addition, we will recommend a study text / complete text from one of the ACCA official publishers, but we do not necessarily give this as part of a classroom course, as we think that it can sometimes slow people down and reduce the time that they are able to spend practising past questions.

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Everybody in the World has free access to ACCA’s own database of past exam questions, answers, syllabus, study guide and examiner’s commentaries on past sittings. This can be

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© 2014 The ExP Group. Individuals may reproduce this material if it is for their own private study use only. Reproduction by any means for any other purpose is prohibited. These course materials are for educational purposes only and so are necessarily simplified and summarised. Always obtain expert advice on any specific issue. Refer to our full terms and conditions of use. No liability for damage arising from use of these notes will be accepted by the ExP Group.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

an invaluable resource. You can find links to the most useful pages of the ACCA database that are relevant to your study on ExPand at www.theexpgroup.com.

How to get the most from these ExPress notes For people on a classroom course, this is how we recommend that you use the suite of learning materials that we provide. This depends where you are in terms of your exam preparation for each paper. Your stage in study for each paper

These ExPress notes

ExP recommended course notes, or ExPedite notes

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ACCA online past exams

Prior to study, e.g. deciding which optional papers to take

Skim through the ExPress notes to get a feel for what’s in the syllabus, the “size” of the paper and how much it appeals to you.

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Have a quick look at the two most recent real ACCA exam papers to get a feel for examiner’s style.

At the start of the learning phase

Work through each chapter of the ExPress notes in detail before you then work through your course notes.

Work through in detail. Review each chapter after class at least once.

Nobody passes an exam by what they have studied – we pass exams by being efficient in being able to prove what we know. In other words, you need to have effectively input the knowledge and be effective in the output of what you know. Exam practice is key to this.

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Make sure that you understand each area reasonably well, but also make sure that you can recall key definitions, concepts, approaches to exam questions, mnemonics, etc.

Try to do at least one past exam question on the learning phase for each major chapter.

© 2014 The ExP Group. Individuals may reproduce this material if it is for their own private study use only. Reproduction by any means for any other purpose is prohibited. These course materials are for educational purposes only and so are necessarily simplified and summarised. Always obtain expert advice on any specific issue. Refer to our full terms and conditions of use. No liability for damage arising from use of these notes will be accepted by the ExP Group.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

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Your stage in study for each paper

These ExPress notes

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Practice phase

Work through the ExPress notes again, this time annotating to explain bits that you think are easy and be brave enough to cross out the bits that you are confident you’ll remember without reviewing them.

Avoid reading through your notes again. Try to focus on doing past exam questions first and then go back to your course notes/ ExPress notes if there’s something in an answer that you don’t understand.

This is your most important tool at this stage. You should aim to have worked through and understood at least two or three questions on each major area of the syllabus. You pass real exams by passing mock exams. Don’t be tempted to fall into “passive” revision at this stage (e.g. reading notes or listening to CDs). Passive revision tends to be a waste of time.

Download the two most recent real exam questions and answers.

The night before the real exam

Read through the ExPress notes in full. Highlight the bits that you think are important but you think you are most likely to forget.

Unless there are specific bits that you feel you must revise, avoid looking at your course notes. Give up on any areas that you still don’t understand. It’s too late now.

Don’t touch it!

Do a final review of the two most recent examiner’s reports for the paper you will be taking tomorrow.

At the door of the exam room before you go in.

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Leave at home.

Leave at home.

© 2014 The ExP Group. Individuals may reproduce this material if it is for their own private study use only. Reproduction by any means for any other purpose is prohibited. These course materials are for educational purposes only and so are necessarily simplified and summarised. Always obtain expert advice on any specific issue. Refer to our full terms and conditions of use. No liability for damage arising from use of these notes will be accepted by the ExP Group.

Read through the technical articles written by the examiner. Read through the two most recent examiner’s reports in detail. Read through some other older ones. Try to see if there are any recurring criticisms he or she makes. You must avoid these!

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

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Š 2014 The ExP Group. Individuals may reproduce this material if it is for their own private study use only. Reproduction by any means for any other purpose is prohibited. These course materials are for educational purposes only and so are necessarily simplified and summarised. Always obtain expert advice on any specific issue. Refer to our full terms and conditions of use. No liability for damage arising from use of these notes will be accepted by the ExP Group.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

Chapter 1

Audit Reports

START Big Picture The one thing all statutory audits of limited liability companies have in common is that at the end of the day an independent auditor has to issue a report to the shareholders as the owners of the company. The auditors must report their opinion in respect of two main issues: 1. Whether the financial statements give a ‘true and fair view’ (or present fairly in all material respects) the company’s financial position and performance, and 2. Whether the financial statements have been ‘properly prepared’ in accordance with any relevant professional recommendations and/or statutory provisions. Although the auditor’s report is produced after all the detailed field work has been completed, it is perhaps important to give it consideration at a fairly early stage in your studies. After all, if you know exactly what you are aiming at, it is perhaps that much easier to hit the target! Exam questions relating to audit reports occur on a regular basis and so this should be seen as a fairly high priority area in your studies. Such questions may be purely knowledge based or of a more practical nature, whereby you are asked to recommend an appropriate form of report to be issued based on a given client scenario.

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© 2014 The ExP Group. Individuals may reproduce this material if it is for their own private study use only. Reproduction by any means for any other purpose is prohibited. These course materials are for educational purposes only and so are necessarily simplified and summarised. Always obtain expert advice on any specific issue. Refer to our full terms and conditions of use. No liability for damage arising from use of these notes will be accepted by the ExP Group.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

Alternatively, the examiner may give you a draft audit report and ask you to identify and explain in what respects the report is not satisfactory.

KEY TERMINOLOGY ISA 700 The Auditors Report on Financial Statements identifies the key elements of the auditor’s report (these must be learned and you should be prepared to give a brief explanation of the purpose of each element): 1. Title 2. Addressee 3. Introductory paragraph 4. Statement of responsibilities of management 5. Statement of responsibilities of the auditors 6. Scope paragraph 7. Opinion 8. Auditor’s signature 9. Date of report 10. Auditor’s address

KEY KNOWLEDGE Modified Audit Reports The standard audit report may be modified, such modification may or may not result in the auditors giving a qualified opinion. It is important to remember that modification of the audit report will only be required if there is some material issue. With the practical type of question always make sure that you use any information available in the scenario to help you assess materiality in a sensible way, vague references to the fact that you would ‘consider materiality’ will NOT impress the examiner. For example, let us say you are given the information that a company’s profit before tax (PBT) is $1,000,000 and that the company has failed to make provision for a known bad debt of $150,000. State the obvious by saying that at 15% of PBT the bad debt is material, in that a standard benchmark would be to consider an item impacting on PBT as being material if it is in the range of 5% to 10% of such PBT.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

It is also important when assessing materiality to remember that this must be considered so far as the user and not the preparer of financial statements is concerned. A useful working definition of materiality may be taken as ‘transactions and other events are likely to be seen as material in the context of a company’s financial statements if their omission, misstatement or non-disclosure would matter to a proper understanding of such financial statements on the part of a potential user.’

KEY KNOWLEDGE Modified Audit Reports with Unqualified Opinion Sometimes there may be matters relating to the financial statements which, whilst fully and adequately disclosed within the financial statements, the auditor considers worthy of bringing to the particular attention of users. The auditor achieves this by including in the audit report an additional paragraph known as an ‘emphasis of matter’ paragraph. This paragraph will be ‘self-contained’ and will NOT otherwise impact on the standard wording of an unmodified report. Key points to remember in relation to the use of such paragraph are:   

it should have a separate heading it should be positioned AFTER the opinion paragraph it must be made clear that the audit opinion is not qualified and so this paragraph should start with words such as ‘Without qualifying our opinion we draw attention to ....’

Past examiners��� reports have indicated that many candidates have been unclear as to how and when to make proper use of an emphasis of matter paragraph. It is important, therefore, that you are totally happy with this aspect of audit reports. Examples of where the use of such paragraph would be appropriate include:

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where there the financial statements have been prepared on a going concern basis, but this is dependent upon some significant uncertainty which is fully and adequately disclosed in the notes to the financial statements

where there is a material inconsistency between the financial statements and the Directors’ Report and the adjustment required to remove the inconsistency would need to be made in the Director’s Report but the directors are not prepared to make such adjustment.

© 2014 The ExP Group. Individuals may reproduce this material if it is for their own private study use only. Reproduction by any means for any other purpose is prohibited. These course materials are for educational purposes only and so are necessarily simplified and summarised. Always obtain expert advice on any specific issue. Refer to our full terms and conditions of use. No liability for damage arising from use of these notes will be accepted by the ExP Group.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

KEY KNOWLEDGE Modified Audit Reports with Qualified Opinion According to ISA 700, there are two main circumstances which might give rise to the auditors deciding that is necessary for them to qualify their audit opinion: 1. Limitation on scope which arises where the auditor has been unable to carry out some audit work which normally they would have expected to perform and/or where the circumstances are such that audit evidence which the auditor would normally expect to be available for some reason does not exist. 2. Disagreement exists between the auditors and client management in relation to some aspect of the financial statements.

The type of qualified opinion to be given will depend not just on the circumstances as indicated above, but also on how serious the limitation on scope or disagreement is namely is it: 1. Material but not pervasive, that is to say that the limitation on scope or disagreement is confined to one particular aspect of the financial statements, such that the auditor is able to say that ‘except for’ this matter the financial statements give ‘a true and fair view etc’. 2. Material and pervasive, that is to say that the nature of the limitation on scope or disagreement is such that it will impact on the overall view given by the financial statements. In such situation if it is caused by limitation on scope, the auditor should give a Disclaimer of Opinion, whereas if it is because of disagreement, they should give an Adverse Opinion.

The circumstances giving rise to a qualified audit opinion should be described in a separate paragraph which appears BEFORE the opinion paragraph. Wherever possible, the auditor should quantify the qualification circumstances as this should make it easier for the reader to appreciate its significance.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

SUMMARY DIAGRAM OF APPROACH TO PRACTICAL AUDIT REPORT QUESTIONS

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

Chapter 2

Ethics

START Big Picture Ethics is at the heart of the ACCA examination syllabuses featuring to a greater or lesser extent in over half of the papers that you take on route to qualification as a Chartered Certified Accountant. Whilst not necessarily appearing as a question every time in the real exam, it must be seen as a key area for your studies. The fundamental principles of professional ethics as outlined by IFAC have been adopted by ACCA and must be learned. It is important to appreciate that ACCA have adopted a principles based approach to ethics so whilst there are specific recommendations in some areas (which must be learned) if you are faced with a practical question where you are not aware of any specific guidance having been issued, you must always go back to basics and apply the fundamental principles. Of particular importance to the auditor are the provisions relating to auditor independence.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

KEY TERMINOLOGY The fundamental principles of professional ethics as outlined in the IFAC Code of Ethics is a very important TOPIC. You might like to use TOPIC as a useful mnemonic to help you remember these principles. Technical (professional) competence and due care must be exercised by all members at all times. Members have a responsibility to act in accordance with best practice and to keep themselves technically up to date. Objectivity must be demonstrated by not allowing personal interest or influence of others to effect a member’s professional judgement.

Professional behaviour must be demonstrated by members at all times, in both their private and business life, so as not to be seen to take any action which might bring the profession into disrepute. Integrity requires that members are always honest and do not knowingly allow themselves to be associated with anything dishonest so far as others are concerned. Confidentiality requires that under normal circumstances members should at all times respect confidentiality with regard to a client’s affairs so far as third parties are concerned and that members should not make use of client information for personal gain.

KEY KNOWLEDGE Threats to Ethical Behaviour The ACCA Code of Ethics recognises a number of threats to a member’s ethical professional behaviour. Whilst such threats apply generally, they are particularly relevant when considering the question of auditor independence. It is always worth remembering the following “It will never be sufficient for an auditor to claim that he was independent in fact, he must always be clearly seen to have been independent in practice.” The five threats are:

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

1. 2. 3. 4.

Self-interest - e.g. owning shares in a client company Self-review – e.g. providing accounting services to an audit client Familiarity – e.g. acting as auditor to a company where a close relative is the CEO Intimidation – e.g. continuing to act as auditor to a company which has started legal proceedings against the audit firm 5. Advocacy – e.g. acting on a client’s behalf in negotiations to raise new finance for the company Safeguards against threats As part of its quality control procedures, a professional firm must establish its own formalised procedures for the identification and management of such threats. Additionally, general safeguards may be seen as being:  

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Those created by the ACCA e.g. requirement for potential members to complete an ethics module Those created by members themselves e.g. ensuring that CPD requirements are met

© 2014 The ExP Group. Individuals may reproduce this material if it is for their own private study use only. Reproduction by any means for any other purpose is prohibited. These course materials are for educational purposes only and so are necessarily simplified and summarised. Always obtain expert advice on any specific issue. Refer to our full terms and conditions of use. No liability for damage arising from use of these notes will be accepted by the ExP Group.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

Chapter 3

Auditor Appointment

START Big Picture In that you are taking the International variant of Paper F8, you are not required to have a knowledge of any specific company law requirements relating to auditors. However, it should be borne in mind that your examiner is also examiner for the UK variant, and being UK based whilst not requiring specific knowledge of UK legislation, tends to take this as an example of good practice generally! You need to be aware of provisions relating to:     

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Appointment of auditors Auditors’ rights Auditors’ duties Auditors’ resignation Removal of auditors

© 2014 The ExP Group. Individuals may reproduce this material if it is for their own private study use only. Reproduction by any means for any other purpose is prohibited. These course materials are for educational purposes only and so are necessarily simplified and summarised. Always obtain expert advice on any specific issue. Refer to our full terms and conditions of use. No liability for damage arising from use of these notes will be accepted by the ExP Group.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

KEY KNOWLEDGE Appointment of Auditors Key points to note are:     

Normally made by members at company’s AGM Often provision made for initial appointment to be made by directors, who may also fill a casual vacancy Under corporate governance provisions approval of audit committee required If previous auditors, ‘professional clearance’ should be obtained Before accepting nomination auditors should consider quality control matters such as independence, potential conflicts of interest, professional competence etc

KEY KNOWLEDGE Auditor Rights Often provided under local statute, where not, sort of thing that should be covered by engagement letter, usual matters covered being rights to:     

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have access to all company books, records etc at all times obtain all information and explanations considered necessary from company management and staff receive notice of, to attend and be heard at all general meetings of the company on matters relating to the financial statements and/or their own appointment to resign and request directors to convene GM of company where there are ‘surrounding circumstances’ connected with the resignation to make representations to shareholders where there is attempt to remove them from office with which they do not concur

© 2014 The ExP Group. Individuals may reproduce this material if it is for their own private study use only. Reproduction by any means for any other purpose is prohibited. These course materials are for educational purposes only and so are necessarily simplified and summarised. Always obtain expert advice on any specific issue. Refer to our full terms and conditions of use. No liability for damage arising from use of these notes will be accepted by the ExP Group.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

KEY KNOWLEDGE Auditors’ Duties Once again may vary from country to country, but main duties and responsibilities would normally be seen as being: 

     

to report to shareholders whether financial statements give a true and fair view and have been properly prepared in accordance with relevant legislation and/or relevant accounting standards to consider implications for audit reporting on financial statements of consistency of ‘other financial information’ published together with the financial statements to review and report on effectiveness of company’s internal control systems under corporate governance /stock exchange provisions in the case of listed companies to qualify audit opinion where necessary to provide proper notice on resignation to detect material fraud and other irregularities to maintain independence

KEY KNOWLEDGE Auditors’ Resignation The main concern here is that auditors should not be able to just ‘fade away quietly’ in order to avoid an awkward situation, leaving shareholders and others who place reliance upon their work, in the dark about important issues of which the auditors are aware. Taking UK provisions as an example therefore, the key points are:  

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auditors must deposit formal written notice of their resignation at the company’s registered office such notice must be accompanied by a positive/negative statement as to whether in their opinion there are any surrounding circumstances requiring communication to the members or loan creditors of the company where there are surrounding circumstances, the auditors may request the directors to convene a GM so that the members may have the opportunity of questioning them further

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

KEY KNOWLEDGE Removal of Auditors Once again we can take the UK provisions as being a good example of good practice:  

 

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special notice must be given of the resolution proposing a change in auditors auditors must be notified of resolution and, if they wish to contest, have the right, at the company’s expense, to pre-circularise their representations to the members as to why they should remain in office at the meeting auditors may again put forward their position before the vote takes place removal will require the passing of an ordinary resolution (simple majority)

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

Chapter 4

Audit Letters

START Big Picture There are a number of what we might call standard audit situation letters through which the auditors will communicate with those responsible for corporate governance within a client company. These are: 1. Engagement letter 2. Management letter 3. Management representation letter Whilst it is highly unlikely that you would ever be asked to reproduce one of these letters in full, it is quite common to find a question on one or other of them where you are to explain its nature and purpose and to perhaps outline its typical main contents. It is possible that you might be asked to produce an extract from one of these letters. In the case of the Management Representation letter on occasions the examiner has asked what action the auditor should take if client management refuse to provide such letter. You should also give some thought in your studies to situations where the auditors communicate with third parties seeking direct confirmation from them as part of the process of gathering audit evidence, principally from:

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Banks Customers Suppliers Selling agents Consignees Legal representatives

KEY KNOWLEDGE Engagement Letter Purpose Serves as a contractual agreement between the auditor and client. Helps to avoid future misunderstanding about mutual roles and responsibilities. Frequency At commencement of any new audit assignment following prior discussion and agreement of terms of engagement with client management. Thereafter new engagement letter should be sent whenever terms are materially varied. In practice new engagement letter is usually sent if significant changes in composition of client senior management. Content Typical content of an audit engagement letter would include reference to the following:               

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Audit objectives Management responsibilities Relevant legislation Relevant professional standards Audit procedures Liaison with internal audit Risk assessment Use of experts Auditor access rights Auditor/client communications Deadlines Reporting format Fee basis Dispute settlement procedures Request for confirmation

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

KEY KNOWLEDGE Management Letter Purpose To report to management where the auditor has identified weaknesses in the company’s internal control systems. Such weaknesses may be: 1. Inherent weaknesses identified by the auditor when initially evaluating the client’s control systems; or 2. Weaknesses identified where the auditor’s tests of control reveal that a system is not working as intended. Frequency Whenever it is considered necessary by the auditor, but usually it will be produced on an annual basis. Content Normal content of such letter would include:     

Details of material weaknesses identified Identification of possible consequences of such weaknesses Auditors’ recommendations to eliminate weaknesses Caveat Disclaimer

KEY KNOWLEDGE Management Representations Letter Purpose The main purposes of such letter may be seen as: 

 

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It serves as a useful reminder to management that it is their responsibility to produce financial statements giving a true and fair view and complying with relevant regulations and standards To provide audit evidence where no alternative sources may be available To comply with best practice

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

Frequency Management representations will have been obtained at various stages during the conduct of the audit, but the formal documentation of these should be obtained on an annual basis, as close as possible to the signing off of the audit report. Content Typical content will include the following:    

Confirmation of directors responsibilities for financial statements Confirmation that all necessary information and explanations have been provided to the auditors Confirmation of facts, where knowledge of such facts is confined to management Confirmation of directors’ estimates and judgement used in the preparation of the financial statements

Steps to be taken if directors refuse to provide representation letter 1. Discuss with management reasons for refusal and try to resolve any contentious area. 2. If management still not prepared to provide, ask if they would be prepared to minute acceptance of auditors’ version. 3. If not prepared to do this, consider whether any further audit work required. 4. If auditor feels that there is insufficient audit evidence without management representations should consider possibility of qualifying audit opinion on grounds of limitation on scope.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

Chapter 5

Audit Risk

START Big Picture As noted elsewhere, an auditor must as part of his assessment of a client’s internal control systems consider the risks to which a client’s business is exposed and the extent to which there maybe some material misstatement in the client’s financial statements as a consequence of not identifying and managing such risks in an appropriate manner. Consideration of risk is therefore to be seen as an integral part of a modern day audit. Not surprisingly, risk related questions have been and are likely to continue to be a regular feature in the exams. Some questions in the past have given marks simply for giving appropriate definitions for key terms, whilst others have asked you to identify risks relating to a given scenario. On the practical questions it is important to note carefully the verb used by the examiner in the question requirement. If you are asked to list the risks that you can see in the scenario, then mere identification will get you the marks. On the other hand, if you are asked to explain the risks, then mere identification may start the mark earning process, but will not get you all of the marks on offer as you must state clearly why it is a risk.

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KEY TERMINOLOGY

AUDIT RISK is very simply the overall risk that the auditor gives an inappropriate audit opinion in his report. Eg. if an auditor gave an unqualified opinion, when in fact the company was not a going concern, then shareholders and others placing reliance on this report in making economic decisions relating to their dealings with the company might suffer financial loss. Audit risk is seen as being made up of 3 elements: AUDIT RISK = INHERENT RISK x CONTROL RISK x DETECTION RISK The auditor must assess inherent risk and control risk but cannot influence them, they are what they are. The only element which the auditor can influence directly is detection risk, which he must do in order to have overall an acceptable level of audit risk. Inherent risk is the risk that there may be material errors or misstatements in the client’s financial statements, before giving consideration to any internal controls that may have been established. Eg. in a high tech company there is high risk of obsolescent inventory which if not recognised could result in a material overstatement of both profits and asset values. Control risk is the risk that the client’s internal control systems will fail to prevent or detect material errors or misstatements. Eg. if there is not effective segregation of duties then there is a much higher risk of employee fraud, without the need for collusion, going undetected. Detection risk is the risk that the auditor’s tests and enquiries will fail to detect material errors or misstatements in the transactions and balances reflected in the client’s financial statements. Eg the detection risk is always greater with a new client because the auditors have had less time to build up their knowledge and understanding of the client’s business and the risks to which it is exposed. Detection risk is seen to include the elements of: 1. Sampling risk – eg. if the auditor selects too small a sample size, it may not be representative of the population from which it is drawn, resulting in the auditor reaching an invalid conclusion about that population.

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2. Non-sampling risk – is any other risk that might result in the auditor arriving at the wrong audit conclusion eg. if client management were to deliberately provide the auditor with misleading information and explanations. From an exam point of view it is important not to confuse audit risk with Business Risk. Business risk is the risk that a company will fail to meet its strategic objectives or that the policies adopted will be inappropriate. Business risk is to a large extent tied up with the fundamental accounting assumption of going concern. Business risk may also be seen as being made up of 3 main elements: 1. Operational risk – eg. shortage of essential raw materials for manufacturing process 2. Financial risk – eg. foreign exchange losses when trading internationally 3. Compliance risk – eg. payment of fines for breach of anti-pollution legislation

It is important to note carefully the question requirement as to what type of risk you have been asked to consider when analysing a given scenario. So if the question scenario makes it clear that the company is trading in different currency zones then: 1. Business risk = foreign exchange losses reduce company’s profitability 2. Audit risk = overstatement of profit if foreign exchange losses are not properly recognised

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

Chapter 6

Internal Control

START Big Picture In practice, the client’s system of internal control is very much one of the foundation stones upon which the audit is based. Not surprisingly therefore in almost every exam you are likely to find that your knowledge and understanding of some aspect of internal control will be tested. In terms of practical questions, you should, as always, read the question scenario carefully, but in the absence of any clear indication to the contrary, the following assumptions should normally be applied:

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You are dealing with the audit of a large limited liability company, with all that this would imply in terms of the formalised internal control systems you could expect to be in place.

That you work for a large professional firm of accountants, with all that this would imply in terms of the knowledge, experience and resources you would expect to be available to you.

That the client has a computerised accounting system, with all that this would imply in terms of the general and application internal controls that you would expect to be in place and the extent to which you would consider making use of CAATs in your audit work.

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It should also be noted carefully that in the light of recent developments in corporate governance frameworks, the many corporate scandals and the current world-wide economic recession that nowadays an integral part of any effective internal control system is that it should include an effective system for risk identification and risk management. This in turn has led to auditors more frequently adopting a risk based approach to auditing.

KEY TERMINOLOGY

ISA 315 Identifying and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement Through Understanding the Entity and Its Environment states that there are 5 components of internal control: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

The control environment The entity’s risk assessment process The information system Control activities Monitoring of controls

The IIA have provided the following useful definition: “An internal control is any action taken by management to enhance the likelihood that established objectives and goals will be achieved. Management plans, organises and directs the performance of sufficient actions to provide reasonable assurance that objectives and goals will be achieved. Thus, control is the result of proper planning, organising and directing by management.” The UK Turnbull report gives us a useful summary of the main purposes of an internal control system, by stating that internal control consists of “the policies, processes, tasks, behaviour and other aspects of a company that taken together:

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Facilitate its effective and efficient operation by enabling it to respond to significant business, operational, financial, compliance and other risks to achieving the company’s objectives. This includes safeguarding the assets from inappropriate use or from loss and fraud and ensuring that liabilities are identified and managed.

Help to ensure the quality of internal and external reporting.

Help ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulation, and also with internal policies with respect to conduct of business.

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Essential features of any good system of internal control As a useful aide memoire when asked to evaluate a described system of internal control within a question scenario, you could make use of the mnemonic PCRAM. Plan of organisation Custody procedures Recording procedures Authorisation procedures Management supervision NB. When evaluating any system of internal control, it is important to recognise that part of the whole system which we call internal control should include what we call internal check (segregation of duties) and also internal audit. Steps in auditor’s consideration and approach to a client’s internal control systems 1. 2. 3. 4.

Ascertain details of clients systems (interview, ICQs, etc). Record details of client systems (narrative notes, flowcharts, etc). Confirm details of client systems (walk through test). Evaluate the client systems. If system is assessed as being sound then proceed to step 5. If system is assessed as being inherently weak, then there is no purpose to carrying out tests of control in that area. Such weaknesses should be discussed with client management and formally documented in a management letter. In this area of the client’s activities it will then be necessary to design and carry out an extended programme of substantive testing. 5. Test the client systems (tests of control). 6. Assess the results of tests of control. If tests of control confirm that the system is working satisfactorily then proceed to step 6. If tests of control reveal that a system evaluated as being sound in theory is not working satisfactorily in practice then proceed as in step 4 where system was evaluated as being inherently weak. 7. Design and carry out limited programme of substantive testing.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

Chapter 7

Internal Control & Audit in Computer Environment

START Big Picture As indicated in the section on internal control, in the exam room you should assume that client has a computerised accounting system, unless clearly told otherwise. In recent times where the examiner has set questions specifically referring to auditing in a computer environment, his subsequent reports have suggested that he has been disappointed with the general standard of candidates’ answers! Clearly, therefore, this is an area which you need to study quite carefully as it is likely to be revisited on a fairly regular basis.

KEY TERMINOLOGY

The basic requirements for an effective system of internal control do not of course change simply because a computer is brought into the business environment. However, computers

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bring with them their own additional control considerations. Specifically, internal control in a computer environment is normally considered under 2 main headings: 1. General Controls These relate to the environment within which computer systems are developed, operated and maintained. They will therefore be relevant to all applications. They are often sub-divided into administration controls and systems development controls. They may be either manual or programmed. 2. Application Controls These relate to those activities which have been computerised and are concerned with the completeness and accuracy of the processing of authorised data and the maintenance of computer files. As with general controls, they may be either manual or programmed. Essential features of any good system of internal control in a computer environment To help you in learning some of the important practical aspects of internal control systems in a computer environment we can again perhaps make use of a series of mnemonics.

GENERAL CONTROLS – ADMINISTRATION CONTROLS (DOFF) Division of duties and responsibilities eg. between IT and user department staff Operator controls eg. use of passwords File controls eg. regular file back-ups Fire precautions and standby arrangements eg. contingency planning

GENERAL CONTROLS – SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT CONTROLS (CAST) Conversion procedures eg. parallel running Authorisation, acceptance and amendment procedures eg. sign off procedures Standardisation eg. use of SSADM Testing eg program logic checks

APPLICATION CONTROLS (IPOF) Input controls eg. data verification by means of double-keying

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Processing controls eg. data validation by means of check digit Output controls eg. actioning of error reports File maintenance controls eg. checking amendments to standing data

Alternative audit approaches There are generally seen as being 3 main alternative approaches to the audit of a computerised accounting system:

1. Auditing around the computer Here the concentration of audit effort is on the inputs to and outputs from the client’s computer system. 2. Auditing through the computer Making use of CAATs, principally:  Test data  Audit software eg. selection of data for further testing 3. Auditing within the computer Making use of embedded audit facilities such as:  ITF – Integrated Test Facility  SCARF – Systems Control and Review File

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

Chapter 8

Internal Audit

START Big Picture Whilst no longer specifically included in the title of the paper, as it was under the old syllabus, questions relating to internal audit have and are likely to continue to appear in the real exam on a regular basis. So far as listed companies are concerned, corporate governance frameworks would normally expect the establishment of an internal audit function as a key element of a company’s internal control systems, where it does not exist, management should reassess the need for it on an annual basis.

KEY TERMINOLOGY

The IIA defines internal auditing as follows> “Internal auditing is an independent, objective assurance and consulting activity designed to add value and improve an organisation’s operations.

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It helps an organisation accomplish its objectives by bringing a systematic disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control and governance processes.” FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL AUDITORS Both internal auditors and external auditors will have a major interest in the effectiveness of a company’s internal control systems. Both are assurance providers and as such will make use of similar techniques and procedures. The external auditor should approach internal audit as any other aspect of internal control before placing any reliance upon the work of internal audit to perhaps reduce the level of some of their own testing. Key factors to consider in assessing the potential reliability of the work of internal audit will include such matters as:     

Qualifications Experience Quality of audit documentation Independence Management response to internal auditor recommendations

Effective co-operation between the two sets of auditors can help to avoid unnecessary duplication of effort, with a consequent benefit of time and cost savings. However, it is important for the external auditor to always be aware of certain fundamental differences as indicated below: SCOPE APPROACH RESPONSIBILITY

INTERNAL AUDITOR MANAGEMENT MANAGEMENT MANAGEMENT

EXTERNAL AUDITOR ISAs + REGULATIONS ISAs + REGULATIONS SHAREHOLDERS

NB under Corporate Governance provisions, the head of internal audit should be appointed by and report to the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee should also be responsible for determining the nature and scope of the work of internal audit. TYPICAL AREAS OF INTERNAL AUDIT INVOLVEMENT These would include, but not be restricted to the following (any of which you need to be prepared to write briefly about):    

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VFM audits (the 3 Es) IT audit Financial audit Operational audit

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

Chapter 9

Audit Evidence

START Big Picture Examination questions relating to audit procedures and evidence are a regular feature in all examinations. Whilst the majority of marks are likely to be awarded for demonstrating your ability to apply knowledge in a practical way, some marks may well be available for purely theoretical knowledge. It also perhaps goes without saying that you need to know the theory as the critical start point in your studies.

KEY KNOWLEDGE Financial Statement Assertions In the production of financial statements, the client management are in fact making a number of assertions. The auditors need to obtain audit evidence that these assertions are reasonable if they are to form an opinion as to whether the financial statements give a true and fair view and comply with relevant statutory and other obligations in relation to their form and content.

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ASSERTIONS RELATING TO TRANSACTIONS AND EVENTS     

OCCURRENCE COMPLETENESS ACCURACY CUT-OFF CLASSIFICATION

ASSERTIONS RELATING TO ACCOUNT BALANCES    

EXISTENCE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS COMPLETENESS VALUATION AND ALLOCATION

ASSERTIONS RELATING TO PRESENTATION AND DISCLOSURE    

OCCURRENCE AND RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS COMPLETENESS CLASSIFICATION AND UNDERSTANDABILITY ACCURACY AND VALUATION

KEY KNOWLEDGE Audit Evidence In accordance with ISA 500, the auditors must always look to obtain SUFFICIENT APPROPRIATE audit evidence on which to base their opinion. When considering what is appropriate audit evidence, this breaks down into whether the evidence is relevant and reliable. SUFFICIENT What will be seen as sufficient is a matter of professional judgement and will be influenced by such factors as the nature of the business, the size of the business, the auditors’ past knowledge and experience of that client etc. RELEVANT What is relevant will depend upon the nature of the item being tested and the financial statement assertion being considered.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

RELIABLE In most instances, the auditors will base their opinion upon a variety of evidence rather than a single source. In considering the comparative reliability of the different forms of evidence which may be available the following general rules may be applied: 1. Documentary evidence will be more reliable than oral evidence. 2. Putting the different forms of documentary audit evidence in ascending order of comparative reliability, they may be seen as: (i) Client originated and client maintained eg. inventory records (ii) Third party originated but client maintained eg. supplier invoice (iii) Evidence obtained directly from third party eg. bank confirmation letter (iv) Auditor generated eg. any audit working paper detailing audit work performed and conclusion reached

AUDIT PROCEDURES RELATING TO AUDIT EVIDENCE ISA 500 indicates 8 procedures some combination of which may be adopted by auditors in order to obtain audit evidence: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

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Inspection of records or documents Inspection of tangible assets Observation Enquiry Confirmation Recalculation Reperformance Analytical procedures

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

Chapter 10

Inventory

START Big Picture The area of inventory has always been a popular area for examination questions. In practice inventory is often one of the most significant items in the client’s financial statements. If inventory is a material item and it is materially misstated, then it will impact directly both on the Income Statement and the Statement of Financial Position. Over the years there have been many frauds relating to inventory manipulation, quite simply because if management are so inclined it is one of the easiest areas to fiddle! Exam questions might test your knowledge and understanding of internal control considerations or audit procedures or valuation requirements or perhaps some combination of these. Although we are looking here specifically at inventory, because of its popularity with examiners over the years, remember you could be asked what audit procedures you would carry out with any of the items typically appearing in a company’s financial statements.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

KEY KNOWLEDGE Main Audit Considerations The main internal control considerations relating to inventory will require that effective authorisation, recording and custody procedure exist to control the movements in inventory and that there should be regular checking of physical quantities against the stock records. Where inventory is a material item in the client’s financial statements and whenever it is practicable to do so, the auditors must satisfy themselves as to the effectiveness of the client’s stocktaking procedures, by observation on a test basis whilst stocktaking is in progress. It is important to recognise that it is not part of the auditors’ duty to take stock nor to value it, but they do have a responsibility to consider the effectiveness of the client’s stocktaking procedures and the reasonableness of the subsequent inventory valuation.

To a large extent, therefore we can usefully consider what work we might do BEFORE, DURING and AFTER the client’s stocktaking. As a useful exercise when you have a spare 5 minutes take a blank piece of paper and under these 3 headings see if (in point form) you can come up with the following sort of ideas. BEFORE        

Review previous year working papers Obtain and review client stocktaking instructions Consider sales method Consider stock locations Consider need for independent experts Confirm date and timing of stock count Liaise with internal auditors Allocate and brief own staff

DURING      

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Observe procedures Test counts Re-counts Note third party inventories Notes re cut-off Notes re condition

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

AFTER      

Follow up on attendance notes Routine tests on inventory records Analytical procedures Test valuation Review disclosure Obtain management representations

The above is not necessarily a fully comprehensive list but should give a good flavour for the level of detail that might be required.

KEY KNOWLEDGE Valuation of Inventory It is important to remember that accounting knowledge assumed for Paper F8 is that examined in Paper F7. It is an important part of your preparation therefore, to as necessary revise those Accounting Standards which are examinable under F7. The aggregate figure for inventories in the Statement of Financial Position (classified under appropriate headings) should be shown at the lower of cost AND net realisable value. However, when looking at individual items of inventory, or groups of similar items, the test should be made for the lower of cost OR net realisable value. COST should include all expenditure incurred in getting the item in question to its present location and condition up to the stage where it is in a saleable condition. Cost should as necessary include ‘costs of conversion’, given production at a normal level of capacity. Whatever method is used to determine cost, it should give as close as possible an approximation to the actual cost. NET REALISABLE VALUE should be taken as the estimated proceeds of sale less ALL estimated further costs to be incurred. In the exam room be prepared to do some fairly basic calculations to demonstrate that you properly understand the principles involved.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

Chapter 11

Subsequent Events

START Big Picture Subsequent events is another of the classic question areas which may well require you to combine your assumed accounting knowledge with auditing knowledge. Whilst pure knowledge questions must not be ruled out, the attraction of this syllabus area to the examiner has perhaps always been the fact that it is an area which readily lends itself to a very practical scenario based question.

KEY TERMINOLOGY

Subsequent Events Relate to events occurring or facts emerging after the accounting period end, but before formal approval of the financial statements by a company’s management.

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Adjusting Events Are those which relate to an item or condition existing at the SOFP date, where the subsequent events assist in forming an opinion as to the amount properly attributable to such item or condition, where at the SOFP date there was some doubt about the value. Eg. making provision at the year end because of the subsequent insolvent liquidation of a customer, where the amount outstanding at the year end was still unpaid at the time of the subsequent liquidation. Non-adjusting Events Are those which do not alter the year end position, but which would have had a material impact on the financial statements if they had occurred prior to the year end. Such nonadjusting events should be communicated by way of notes to the financial statements. Eg. The destruction by fire shortly after the year end of one of a company’s warehouses. As auditors we should give careful consideration to those events which at first sight may appear to be non-adjusting, but which might be seen to impact on going concern, which could mean that in fact they need to be treated as adjusting events.

KEY KNOWLEDGE Audit Approach – Proactive Period Up to the date of signing the audit report , the auditor must be proactive in seeking out audit evidence relating to subsequent events, in order to consider whether or not the client has dealt with such events in an appropriate manner. Typical audit procedures During the period where best practice requires the auditor to be proactive in relation to subsequent events typical procedures would include, but not necessarily be restricted to:     

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Discussions with management and subsequent review of company procedures for dealing with subsequent events Examining minutes of board and board committee meetings Review of management forecasts, budgets and management accounts Routine audit work which naturally takes auditor into subsequent period eg. tests relating to sales and purchases cut-off Obtaining management representations

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KEY KNOWLEDGE Audit Approach – Reactive Period After signing the audit report, the auditor need only be reactive to subsequent events. In other words, if there is some late event which if the auditor had known about it earlier would have impacted on the financial statements and/or the auditor’s opinion thereon, he must react by taking appropriate action. What constitutes appropriate action will obviously depend on the actual nature and timing of events, but might include:    

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Discussions with management on their proposed reaction Revision/withdrawal of earlier report Addressing company AGM/GM Seeking further advice

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

Chapter 12

Going Concern

START Big Picture You will be aware from earlier financial reporting studies, that going concern is one of the fundamental assumptions underlying the preparation of all general purpose financial statements. Appropriate application of this assumption is vital if the financial statements are to give a true and fair view. In the current economic climate, with many businesses failing every day this is certainly a topical issue from an exam point of view. Examination questions in this area often have an element relating to audit reporting. In practice, a going concern qualification is perhaps one of the most difficult for an auditor to give, because of the very real danger that the audit report may become a self-fulfilling prophesy. Usually when such questions have appeared the examiner has expressed disappointment with the standard of many candidates’ answers. Going concern considerations may also apply when dealing with questions relating to audit risk and also subsequent events.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

KEY TERMINOLOGY

Going concern The concept of going concern is based upon the assumption that the business will continue to exist as a viable commercial entity for the foreseeable future, without the need for any significant cut-back in its present level of activity. Foreseeable future is normally taken as being a minimum of 12 months from the current accounting date. If for any reason, management consider a shorter period, then there should be a note to the financial statements indicating what that shorter period is and management’s reasons for choosing it.

KEY KNOWLEDGE Audit Approach The auditor should always be alert to possible indicators of going concern problems. A useful starting point for consideration of such indicators may be to relate to the elements of Business Risk (= Operational Risk x Financial Risk x Compliance Risk) as considered previously. It is important that when risks are identified that the auditor also considers the possibility of mitigating factors which might counter balance the indicator of possible going concern problems. See examples in following table:

RISK OPERATIONAL FINANCIAL COMPLIANCE

POSSIBLE INDICATOR Shortage essential raw materials for manufacturing process Material FOREX losses Numerous fines for breach of anti-pollution legislation

POSSIBLE MITIGATING FACTOR R & D Dept close to finding synthetic alternative New hedging policy New more environmentally friendly manufacturing process about to come on line

Specific audit procedures would include:

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

Assessment of current and projected economic environment in which company operates

Assessment of state of industry sector in which company operates

Review of correspondence files and board minutes for evidence of significant disputes

Review of subsequent period cash flow and profit forecasts

Discuss management procedures and review and obtain management representations

KEY KNOWLEDGE Audit Report Considerations As always, the type of audit report to be issued will be dependent upon the circumstances and the auditor’s assessment of materiality of the issues involved. The following table provides a useful summary of the most likely scenarios. CIRCUMSTANCES Going concern basis used and considered appropriate with no related significant uncertainty Going concern basis used but appropriateness dependent upon some significant uncertainty which is fully and adequately disclosed Going concern basis used but appropriateness dependent upon some significant uncertainty which is either not disclosed at all or inadequately disclosed Going concern basis used but in auditor’s opinion not appropriate Going concern basis inappropriate but financial statements prepared on acceptable alternative basis which is adequately disclosed

REPORT IMPLICATIONS None Unqualified opinion but use emphasis of matter paragraph to draw attention to disclosure of significant uncertainty Qualified opinion on grounds of disagreement, probably adverse rather than except for Qualified opinion on grounds of disagreement, probably adverse rather than except for Unqualified opinion but use emphasis of matter paragraph to draw attention to unusual circumstances

Chapter 13

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© 2014 The ExP Group. Individuals may reproduce this material if it is for their own private study use only. Reproduction by any means for any other purpose is prohibited. These course materials are for educational purposes only and so are necessarily simplified and summarised. Always obtain expert advice on any specific issue. Refer to our full terms and conditions of use. No liability for damage arising from use of these notes will be accepted by the ExP Group.

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

Corporate Governance

START Big Picture This is not the first time (F4 Corporate and Business Law) you will have come across this topic and it will not be the last (P1 Professional Accountant)! Perhaps because of the fact that corporate governance is at the very heart of the later P1 paper, questions nowadays are perhaps more likely to be knowledge based, but you should not rule out entirely the prospect of a practical scenario based question. Corporate governance is a very topical issue and you can read about important issues on almost a daily basis in the financial press. Many countries have developed corporate governance frameworks in response to major corporate scandals (eg. Enron, Barings, Parmalat etc etc). Some of these frameworks are rules based such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the US, whilst others are principles based such as the Combined Code in the UK. Key points to learn are the main features which are nowadays generally seen as being indicative of potentially affective corporate governance.

KEY TERMINOLOGY

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

WHAT IS CORPORATE GOVERNANCE? Various definitions have been provided such as: 1. “Corporate governance is the system by which organisations are directed and controlled.” (Cadbury Report) 2. “Corporate governance is a set of relationships between a company’s directors, its shareholders and other stakeholders. It also provides the structure through which the objectives of the company are set, and the means of achieving those objectives and monitoring performance, are determined.” (OECD)

KEY KNOWLEDGE Features of Effective Corporate Governance Balanced Board Ideally, there should be a balance between executive directors (EDs) and independent nonexecutive directors (NEDs) excluding the chairman (independent). Separation at the top Ideally, the roles of Chairman and Chief Executive (CEO) should not be combined, but rather the Chairman should run the board, whilst the CEO runs the company. Board Committees The establishment of the following main board committees is indicative of good corporate governance practices: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Audit Committee – all NEDs Remuneration Committee – all NEDs Appointments Committee – majority NEDs Risk Committee – majority NEDs

Director training There should be an effective induction programme for all new directors and thereafter the company should ensure that there is an on-going programme for CPD for all directors. Internal Control

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ExPress Notes ACCA F8 (INT) Audit and Assurance

The directors will be responsible for establishing and maintaining an effective system of internal control. This system should be assessed and reported on by management on an annual basis. In particular management in such review should give consideration to:     

Internal audit Enterprise risk management Corporate ethical culture Corporate social responsibility Whistleblowing facility

Communication with shareholders Management should encourage smaller investors to participate in company GMs, especially the AGM, and have a regular dialogue with institutional investors. Institutional investors in their turn are expected to exercise their voting power responsibly. Financial reporting The board needs to present a balanced and understandable assessment of the company’s past performance, present position and future prospects.

(end of ExPress Notes)

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© 2014 The ExP Group. Individuals may reproduce this material if it is for their own private study use only. Reproduction by any means for any other purpose is prohibited. These course materials are for educational purposes only and so are necessarily simplified and summarised. Always obtain expert advice on any specific issue. Refer to our full terms and conditions of use. No liability for damage arising from use of these notes will be accepted by the ExP Group.

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ACCA F8 Audit and Assurance