Assurance services and auditing research
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Assurance Services and Auditing Research. Chapter 8. Learning Objectives. The types of assurance and consulting services, and applicable standards The environment for the assurance services standard setting process Authoritative auditing support

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Learning Objectives

The types of assurance and consulting services, and applicable standards

The environment for the assurance services standard setting process

Authoritative auditing support

How to utilize the AICPA’s professional standards


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Learning Objectives (contd.)

  • Role of auditing in the public sector

  • Hierarchy of the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct

  • Role of professional judgment in the research process

  • International dimensions of auditing


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Assurance services

“Independent professional services that improve the quality of information, or its context, for decision makers”

Adds value to the user, not just the report

Three party contracts – the client, the assurer, and the third party to whom the accountant is providing assurance


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Consulting services and standards

  • Attestation and audit services are special types of assurance services

  • In an attest engagement, the CPA reports on the reliability of a written assertion that is managements responsibility

  • Consulting is not part of assurance services

    • Two party contact: client, consultant, accountant

    • CPA develops findings, conclusions, and recommendations


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Auditing standard-setting environment

  • Audits add credibility to financial information

  • Auditor conducts audit in conformity with GAAP and in conjunction with auditing standards

  • Attestation services and standards

    • In the past, only audit opinions

    • Now expanded to include opinions on internal controls


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Attest engagements and guidelines

Audit and attest services – Generally Accepted Audit Standards (GAAS), Statements on Auditing Standards (SAS) – Auditing standard boards (ASB)

Accounting and review services – Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review – Accounting and Review Services Committee (ARSC)

Accountant’s services on prospective financial information – Statements on Standards for Accountant’s Services on Prospective Financial Information – Auditing Standards Board


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Attest engagements and guidelines

  • Other attest services – Statements on Standards for Attest Engagement – ASB, ARSC, and the management consulting services executive committee

  • Audit and attest services for public companies – Auditing and Related Professional Practice Standards – Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB)


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Attestation standards

  • General Standards

    • Adequate technical training and proficiency

    • Adequate knowledge

    • Services shall be performed only if the subject matter is capable of being evaluated

    • Independence in mental attitude

    • Due professional care


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Attestation standards (contd.)

  • Fieldwork

    • Adequately planned, and assistants properly supervised

    • Sufficient evidence to provide a reasonable basis for conclusion


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Attestation standards (contd.)

  • Standards of Reporting

    • Report shall identify subject matter

    • Conclusion shall be reported

    • Reservations shall be reported

    • Report shall state the use of the report is restricted to specified parties


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Auditing standards

  • Auditing standards provided measures of the quality of performance

  • Audit procedures refer to the specific acts or steps to perform in an audit

    • Procedures change, standards remain constant

  • 10 broad requirements referred to as GAAS

    • In addition, to GAAS, there are Statements of Auditing Standards (SAS) Interpret GAAS by clarify procedures


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Generally accepted auditing Standards

  • General standards

    • Adequate technical training

    • Independence

    • Due professional care


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Generally Accepted Auditing Standards

  • Field work

    • Adequately planned and assistants supervised

    • Sufficient understanding of the business and internal controls to plan the audit and determine the nature, timing and extent of procedures

    • Sufficient competent evident matter to form an opinion


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GAAS (contd.)

  • Standards of reporting

    • Report shall state if in accordance with GAAP

    • Shall report if not consistent

    • Informative financial statement disclosures

    • Written expression


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Auditing standard-setting process

Previously, set by ASB

SOX transferred standard setting responsibility to PCAOB for public company audit


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Auditing standard-setting process

  • There is a standards hierarchy

    • Primary support

      • General application

      • Special application to certain entities

    • Secondary authoritative support


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Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB)

  • Legal responsibility to establish GAAS, attestation, ethics, and quality control standards for accounting firms who audit public companies

  • Non-public companies still follow the AICPA’s mission:

    • Develop auditing, attestation and quality control standards for non-issuer engagements

    • Contribute to the development and issuance of high-quality national and international auditing and assurance standards

    • Respond to the needs for practical guidance in implementing professional standards


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AICPA reSource database

Professional standards, accounting trends and techniques, technical practice aids, auditing and accounting guides, and audit alerts

Home tab – lists the literature available in the database

Once select a certain literature, can query

Results tab – click on the link to find the result


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Code of professional conduct

Minimum level of conduct

Principles, rules, interpretations, and ethics rulings

Rule 202- compliance with standards

Rule 203 – accounting principles

AICPA issues a newsletter that lists violators of professional conduct.


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Hierarchy of the AICPA’s Code of Professional Conduct

  • Level 1 – Principles

    • provided framework for development

  • Level 2 – Rules

    • Serve as the enforceable part of the Code

  • Level 3 – Interpretations of the Rules of Conduct

    • Have been adopted by the professional ethics division’s ethics committee

    • Provide guidelines as to the scope and application of rules

  • Level 4 – Ethics Rulings

    • Formal rulings made by the professional ethics division’s executive committee.

    • Summarize the application of the rulesand interpretations to particular factual circumstances


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Auditing in the public sector

  • GAO – Government Auditing Standards – “Yellow book”

    • Applicable to all governmental organizations

    • Measure effectiveness of the expenditures, not just identify the amounts spent

    • Include compliance auditing

    • Three levels of auditing

      • GAAS

      • Government Auditing Standards (aka generally accepted government auditing standards)

      • Federal audit requirements – OMB Circular A-133 Audits of States, Local Governments, and Non-Profit Organizations


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Accounting Services

Compilation – a service presenting, in the form of financial statements, information that is the representation of management without expressing any assurance on the statements.

Review – a service performing inquiry and analytical procedures that provide the accountant with a reasonable basis for expressing limited assurance on the statements


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International Auditing

International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)

International Auditing Practices Committee (IAPC)

International Standards on Auditing (ISAs)

International Practice Statements (IAPs)

International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB)


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Role of judgment in accounting and auditing research

  • Judgment in: substance of transaction, adequacy of disclosure, materiality thresholds

  • Auditor gathers information, evaluates and judges, then expresses an opinion

  • Many pronouncements provide only guidelines or alternatives, requiring judgment.

    • Critical thinking skills are crucial

  • SAS No. 5 – discusses auditor’s judgment