In this episode of THE SAMPLE, Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA covers an evil truth of auditing: that working papers are like zombies.
Welcome to The Sample, a quick discussion of auditing concepts and terms that will help you do your work. Conducting an audit in accordance with auditing standards is no small feat and I want to support you. We’ll be referring to the GAO, IIA and AICPA literature to bolster our conversations. Let’s get started.
In this episode, we cover an evil truth of auditing. All right. I’ll drop the silly voice. But I do want to talk to you about how working papers are like zombies. It’s so scary. We put them away, and then they rise from the dead over and over and over again, like a bad horror film.
The auditor creates the working papers, and then, on your team – I don’t know how your team is actually structured – but you could have layers of review on your audit team. Now, that seems relatively reasonable, that whoever’s on your team should look at your work. Okay. But is that where we stop as a profession? No. No.
You might have someone who’s not even on your team, who’s not involved in the audit at all, look at your working papers before the audit report is issued.
And if you’re following audit standards, you’ll have an annual monitoring review. It’s like an internal review to make sure that the whole organization, the whole audit organization, is following standards, and your working papers might get selected for review. Then, or three years later, after you do the work, a peer reviewer might select your working papers for review.
This is horrific. It’s like a nightmare. And the worst thing that could happen to you in this nightmare scenario is that you can’t remember why you did something. The peer reviewer pulls your working papers out of the grave and says, “Why did you do this?” And you can’t answer. There goes your professional credibility. You’ve just killed it off.
Don’t do that to yourself and your team. Let your working papers be your brain. Get it? Brain, zombies? Let your working papers answer the question for you because you’re not going to remember.
If you ever think to yourself, “Should I write that down? That seems a little bit much. I mean, that could take me a couple extra minutes. I don’t have a couple extra minutes.” Uh, no. Go ahead and invest the time now so that you save your credibility and don’t fall victim to the zombie-like quality of audit working papers rising from the grave.
That wraps it up for another episode of The Sample. True to the nature of a sample, we didn’t talk about everything, so you’ve probably got questions. Write to me firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to fill in the blanks. Thanks for playing.
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