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Audit and Assurance Essentials: For Professional Accountancy Exams, + Website


Understanding auditing and assurance is essential not just for practitioners, but for anyone in a finance role. Auditing and assurance are key elements in many professional accountancy courses. However, the pass rates for these papers are often significantly lower than for other papers at the same level. Much of the available material is unclear and confusing because of an excessive level of detail, in an attempt to be comprehensive. This can make it difficult to master the basic concepts.

This user-friendly book covers the key concepts of professional auditing and assurance syllabuses, including those of the ACCA and ICAEW among others, with an emphasis on core knowledge and basic application skills. It is designed as a working primer in the basic concepts of audit and assurance, which are explained and illustrated in clear and simple terms.

Key features are: 

  • An introduction to each section explaining why the student should read it, what is important, what sort of questions come up in the area, and how students can stand out from the crowd.
  • Practical examples that can be used in the exam room.
  • Questions at the end of each chapter.
  • A section on study skills and exam technique.
  • Clear, understandable coverage of the increasingly important concept of assurance.
  • Coverage of International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) relevant to students taking International and UK variant papers with notes on the differences between UK and International standards, where they still exist.
  • A companion website containing an additional bank of questions, more material on current issues and other exam-related material.

“Katharine's willingness to share her knowledge of how to perform well in auditing exams makes this book invaluable for anyone taking them.”--Guy Loveday BSc (Econ) FCA, director of PTP Ltd, widely known as both a CPD trainer and former examination tutor

“Katharine knows how to get students through auditing exams!”--John Selwood ACA, lecturer and trainer on auditing

Introduction 1

1 Auditors, Audits and Other Types of Assurance and Passing the Exam First Time 3

1.1 The Need for Audit and Other Types of Assurance 4

1.2 Passing the Exam First Time 13

2 Taking on Professional Work and Maintaining Standards 23

2.1 Introduction to Professional Standards 24

2.2 Fundamental Principles, Threats and Safeguards 26

2.3 Changes in a Professional Appointment 32

2.4 Obtaining Professional Work 34

2.5 Professional Ethics: Fees 39

2.6 Professional Ethics: Confl icts of Interest and Hospitality 43

2.7 Professional Ethics: Independence and Objectivity 45

2.8 Appointing and Removing Auditors 57

2.9 Agreeing Engagement Terms 61

3 Housekeeping: Planning, Materiality and Documentation 67

3.1 Planning 68

3.2 Materiality 73

3.3 Audit Documentation 77

4 The Core of the Audit 87

4.1 Risk Assessments 87

4.2 Audit Evidence 113

4.3 Responding to Risk 128

4.4 Audit Tools 152

4.5 More Audit Tools: Using the Work of Others 196

4.6 Related Parties, Initial Engagements, Opening Balances and Comparative Information 228

5 Corporate Governance, Professional Liability, Regulation and Other Current Issues 237

5.1 Corporate Governance 237

5.2 Professional Liability, Regulation and Other Current Issues 250

6 Audit Reporting 265

6.1 Audit Finalisation 265

6.2 Modifi ed and Unmodifi ed Audit Opinions 275

6.3 Emphasis of Matter and Other Matter Paragraphs, Going Concern 288

6.4 Communications with Management and those Charged with Governance 299

6.5 Other Information 306

7 Fraud, Money Laundering, Forensic Accounting, Financial Instruments 311

7.1 Fraud: Auditors’ Responsibilities 312

7.2 Laws and Regulations: Auditors’ Responsibilities 322

7.3 Money Laundering 325

7.4 Forensic Accounting 331

7.5 Financial Instruments 335

8 The Wider Framework: Assurance, Other Engagements, Audit Quality and Quality Control 343

8.1 International Standards 345

8.2 Overall Objectives of Audits, the Framework For Assurance Engagements, ISAE 3000 353

8.3 Audit Quality and Quality Control 371

9 Smaller Entity Audits, Reviews, Compilations, Agreed-Upon Procedures Engagements, Not-For-Profit Engagements 383

9.1 Smaller Entity Audits 384

9.2 Overview of Reviews, Agreed-Upon Procedures and Compilation Engagements 387

9.3 Review Engagements 389

9.4 Compilation Engagements 398

9.5 Agreed-Upon Procedures Engagements 402

9.6 Not-For-Profi t Engagements 406

10 Other Assurance Engagements 415

10.1 Introduction to Other Assurance Engagements 416

10.2 Assurance or Agreed-Upon Procedures: Key Performance Indicators 418

10.3 Social and Environmental Reporting and ISAE 3410 Assurance Engagements of Greenhouse Gas Statements 421

10.4 Prospective Financial Information 428

10.5 ISAE 3420 Reporting on the Compilation of Pro-Forma Financial Information in Prospectuses 433

IAASB Standards and Related Guidance Covered in This Publication 437

Answers 439

Abbreviations 487

Index 489