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Audit Guide: Analytical Procedures


AICPA Audit Guides are developed and updated to provide guidance and tools for practitioners as they perform audit engagements.

The AICPA Audit Guide Analytical Procedures, updated as of March 1, 2012, includes relevant guidance contained in applicable standards and other technical sources. The guide summarizes applicable requirements and practices, and delivers "how-to" advice for handling analytical procedures used in audits. The included case study illustrates the use of analytical procedures in planning and substantive testing, utilizing trend analysis, ratio analysis, reasonableness testing, and regression analysis. The appendices include a variety of examples of financial ratios and a comparison of the key provisions of the Risk Assessment Standards.

This AICPA Audit Guide has been fully conformed to reflect the new standards resulting from the Clarity Project. Fully incorporating the clarified auditing standards into this year’s edition of the guide enables auditors to further their understanding of these recently issued auditing standards, as well as begin updating their audit methodologies, resources, and tools prior to the clarified auditing standards’ effective date. Additionally, this approach gives auditors the opportunity to review and understand the changes made by their third-party audit methodology and resource providers, if applicable. The clarified auditing standards are effective for audits of financial statements for periods ending on or after December 15, 2012 (calendar year 2012 audits). Auditors should continue to use the previous edition of this guide (2008 edition) until the clarified auditing standards become effective for the auditors’ engagements.

Founded in 1887, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) represents the CPA and accounting profession nationally and globally regarding rule-making and standard-setting, and serves as an advocate before legislative bodies, public interest groups and other professional organizations. The AICPA develops standards for audits of private companies and other services by CPAs; provides educational guidance materials to its members; develops and grades the Uniform CPA Examination; and monitors and enforces compliance with the accounting profession’s technical and ethical standards.

The AICPA’s founding established accountancy as a profession distinguished by rigorous educational requirements, high professional standards, a strict code of professional ethics, a licensing status and a commitment to serving the public interest.

1 The Use of Analytical Procedures .01-.48

Concepts and Definitions .03-.13

Analytical Procedures .03-.09

Expectations .10

Precision .11-.12

Level of Assurance .13

Analytical Procedure Process: Four Phases .14-.48

Expectation Formation (Phase I) .16-.40

Identification and Investigation (Phases II and III) .41-.46

Evaluation (Phase IV) .47-.48

2 Questions and Answers .01-.41

Precision of the Expectation .02-.15

Relationship of Analytical Procedures to the Audit Risk Model .16-.21

Evaluation and Investigation .22-.26

Purpose of Analytical Procedures .27-.37

Fraud .38-.41

3 Case Study: On the Go Stores .01-.76

Background Information .03-.10

Nature of the Account or Assertion .08-.10

Example 1: Trend Analysis .11-.25

Expectation Formation (Phase I) .12-.19

Planning Phase: Identification, Investigation, and Evaluation (Phases II-IV) .20-.22

Substantive Testing: Identification, Investigation, and Evaluation (Phases II-IV) .23-.25

Example 2: Ratio Analysis .26-.35

Expectation Formation (Phase I) .27-.31

Identification, Investigation, and Evaluation (Phases II-IV) .32-.35

Example 3: Reasonableness Test .36-.48

Expectation Formation (Phase I) .37-.40

Inherent Precision of the Type of Expectation .41-.44

Identification, Investigation, and Evaluation (Phases II-IV) .45-.48

Example 4: Regression Analysis .49-.69

Cross-Sectional Regression .52-.58

Expectation Formation (Phase I) .59-.66

Identification, Investigation, and Evaluation (Phases II-IV) .67-.69

3 Case Study: On the Go Stores--continued Use of Regression in Review Engagements .70

Regression and Fraud Detection .71-.74

Reasonableness Testing by Store .75-.76


A Measures of Precision for a Regression Analysis

B Financial Ratios

C Mapping and Summarization of Changes--Clarified Auditing Standards

D Schedule of Changes Made to the Text From the Previous Edition