Audit Evidence: Definition, Types, Examples, Procedure

The primary objective of audits is for the auditors to provide a report on a given subject matter. This report contains the auditor’s opinion of whether the subject matter includes material misstatements. Depending on the type of audit engagement, it may also provide other conclusions. Auditors base their opinion on the auditor’s report on their work during audit engagements.

One of the crucial parts of the auditor’s work involves audit evidence that is sufficient and appropriate. This evidence may come in various forms and types. Before discussing that, it is crucial to know what audit evidence is.

What is Audit Evidence?

Audit evidence refers to any information auditors obtain as a part of their work in an audit engagement. It may include physical records, statements, and other supporting items. Similarly, it may consist of verbal communication between auditors and the management. The auditor must design audit procedures to focus on obtaining sufficient appropriate audit evidence.

Audit evidence provides the base for auditors to provide their audit opinion. On top of that, it also helps avoid any liabilities from the auditor’s work. ISA 500 Audit Evidence offers crucial information on what this evidence includes and how auditors must obtain it. However, the specific requirements may differ from one engagement to another.

What are the sources of Audit Evidence?

Auditors can obtain audit evidence from two types of work, including tests of control and substantive procedures. The latter further includes two tests of detail and analytical procedures. Usually, tests of control occur before substantive procedures. An explanation of what each of these involves is as follows.

Tests of control

Tests of controls involve checking the client’s internal controls for weaknesses. These tests occur before auditors perform further substantive procedures. Based on these, auditors can design their work to obtain audit evidence. Auditors may use several audit procedures during this step, including inquiry, observation, and inspection.

Substantive procedures

Substantive procedures come after tests of control. These include the following.

Tests of detail

Tests of detail are procedures to check transactions within the general ledger. As the name suggests, they are more elaborate than other audit procedures. Tests of detail include similar procedures as a test of control but with a different purpose. These also use audit sampling.

Analytical procedures

Analytical procedures involve analyzing the relationship between financial and non-financial information. The primary purpose of these procedures is to assess the reasonableness of figures in the client’s records.

How to obtain Audit Evidence?

Auditors can obtain audit evidence by using audit procedures. These include the following.

Inspection

An inspection involves examining records, documents, and physical assets.

Enquiry

An enquiry involves obtaining information from the management.

Observation

An observation involves observing processes being performed by the client.

Analytical procedures

Analytical procedures involve assessing the relationship between data, both financial and non-financial.

External confirmation

An external confirmation includes responses from third parties, for example, banks, creditors, debtors, etc.

Recalculation

Recalculation involves checking the mathematical accuracy of documents, records, and calculations.

Reperformance

Reperformance involves auditors performing procedures and controls independently.

Conclusion

Audit evidence includes records, documents, and oral information obtained by auditors during audit work. This evidence supports their opinion provided in the audit report. Usually, auditors receive this evidence from two sources, including tests of controls and substantive procedures. Auditors can use various audit procedures to collect evidence, as listed above.

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