Do you struggle with what needs to be done in an audit–and what does not? Do you perform audit procedures (because they are in a standard audit program) but you’re not sure why? Do you ever feel like your audit will never end? You are not alone.
While audit forms—like risk assessment, audit planning, and audit program—are necessary, they can make us feel like a blind man being led by the hand. If you’re like me, you want to see, to know where you’re going and why. To gain sight, we need to go back to the basics.
Each year, Vince Lombardi (the revered coach of the Green Bay Packers) held a pigskin up and said, “This is a football.” And he did so with the best players in the world. He knew that winning is all about basics: blocking, tackling, passing, running. Understanding fundamentals brings clarity and power. And that’s what I’m after in The Why and How of Auditing. I’ll strip away the technical mumbo-jumbo and make auditing accessible, even for beginners. Moreover, experienced auditors will profit as you revisit what matters (and what does not).
Here’s an overview of the upcoming posts:
In the cartoons I read as a kid, Lucy would say to Charlie Brown, “I will hold the ball, and you kick,” but as Charlie Brown would lean into his launch, she would pull away. And you remember the result: Charlie Brown, lying on his backside.
Some audit procedures (like the invitation to kick) are tempting. They call us (like a familiar friend), but they are a waste of time–even if we have done these steps for years. In the end, they leave us staring at the sky. So, we need to know what is best and what is necessary. Then, we can avoid waste.
This series provides you with what you need to know—without excess baggage. By design, the series is simple. Why? To provide clarity. I want you to understand the basics of auditing.
When you’re done, you’ll understand auditing, possibly in a way you never have. Then you’ll work with greater confidence and effectiveness. So, let’s begin.
You can find my book The Why and How of Auditing on Amazon. Get your copy now.
I have also written these posts regarding responses to the risk of material misstatement:
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Charles Hall is a practicing CPA and Certified Fraud Examiner. For the last thirty years, he has primarily audited governments, nonprofits, and small businesses. He is the author of The Little Book of Local Government Fraud Prevention and Preparation of Financial Statements & Compilation Engagements. He frequently speaks at continuing education events. Charles is the quality control partner for McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co. where he provides daily audit and accounting assistance to over 65 CPAs. In addition, he consults with other CPA firms, assisting them with auditing and accounting issues.
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[…] part of my auditing series. In it, I take you from the start to the end of the audit process. Click here if you’ve missed my prior […]
Thanks for the suggestion.
Hi Charles. I am a Financial Statement Auditor from the Pacific Islands. I find your articles very helpful in planning and carrying out audits especially the Why and Hows of Auditing. It has helped me achieve quality and flow in my audit works. Easy to grasp since at times guidance may not be provided by older staff. Kindly recommending if you could put up a Why and How guide for inventory auditing I would be grateful for your assistance.
Thanks for reading Bibi. Have a great day.
Thanks for all the wonderful lectures and write-ups sir. They are really educative…more strength sir.
Walter, capacity is a very common problem. A piece of this problem is pricing. Auditees want low prices which they get. But then firms with low prices often overbook. Next the audit client suffers with delayed delivery. If I am a buyer of audit services, I would require (in the contract) a discount once the audit is so many days late.
Rather than doing audits, I chair or serve on nonprofit audit committees. This is a great list to use in reverse for interviewing potential auditors. I recently had my first experience with a quality CPA firm’s capacity issues. Matters beyond anyone’s control caused a nonprofit’ to be a month behind for its annual audit. The CPA firm had pre-scheduled two weeks for the field-work and it had to postpone the audit for almost five months due to its scheduling being so tight. I was surprised that the firm had no leeway for emergencies, had not done interim work to alleviate potential problems, etc. The capacity issue is one I’ll always be raising going forward.