Audit Documentation: Definition, Example, Check List

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The auditing process involves an auditor examining a company’s financial and accounting systems. These auditors are independent of the underlying company. Similarly, they can be external or internal based on the type of audit. During audits, auditors perform various procedures and gather evidence to support their work. Documenting these procedures is highly crucial.

What is Audit Documentation?

Audit documentation refers to records maintained by auditors for a specific audit assignment. These records include the procedures they performed and the evidence obtained during the process. On top of that, audit documentation also contains the conclusions auditors reach based on their work. Audit documentation is one of the most crucial parts of the auditing process.

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International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) guide auditors on audit documentation. According to the ISAs, audit documentation refers to the record of audit procedures, evidence obtained, and conclusions reached. This documentation becomes a part of the audit files for the audit assignment. Usually, auditors maintain audit documentation in written form. However, some audit firms have also moved to a digital process.

What is the importance of Audit Documentation?

Besides acting as a record, audit documentation is crucial for several reasons. The ISAs define the objective of preparing and maintaining audit documentation. ISA 230 describes it as a sufficient and appropriate record of the basis for the auditors’ report. On top of that, audit documentation also has several practical benefits. These include the following.

  • It provides a base for future audits.
  • It helps other auditors understand the procedures used and the conclusions reached.
  • It supports future reviews and examinations by other auditors.
  • It is a part of the quality control process over an audit assignment.
  • Some firms use it as a training tool for junior auditors.
  • It provides evidence of the auditor’s work in case of future litigations.

What are some examples of Audit Documentation?

Audit documentation includes various records. Usually, audit firms dictate the documents that their auditors should maintain. Auditing standards also provide some guidance on those records. However, there is no checklist for the audit documentation process. For most audit assignments, the common audit documents include the following.

  • Audit plan documents.
  • Analysis performed by auditors.
  • Checklists
  • Confirmation letters.
  • Copies of the client’s records.
  • Representation letters.
  • Memoranda and correspondence with management.
  • Summaries of significant findings.

What are the requirements for Audit Documentation?

Auditing standards provide some guidance on the audit documentation that auditors must maintain. However, they do not provide strict rules on what records should be a part of the process. Instead, they only guide on the qualities that the audit documentation should fulfill. ISAs require auditors to meet two criteria when preparing audit documentation.

Firstly, ISAs require auditors to prepare audit documentation that provides evidence of their basis for a conclusion about the overall objective. Secondly, these records should demonstrate that the auditor planned and performed the audit under the ISAs. Apart from these, if any other regulatory standards apply, auditors must also conform to those.

Conclusion

Audit documentation refers to the records auditors prepare from their audit work. These records serve as evidence of the auditor’s work. On top of that, audit documentation also meets various other objectives. ISAs provide some guidance on maintaining these records. However, they do not have strict checklists for audit documentation. Instead, ISAs cover the requirements that audit documentation should satisfy.

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