What is an Audit?
Audit is an independent examination of financial statements of an entity
that enables an auditor to express
an opinion whether the financial statements are prepared (in all material
respects) in accordance with an
identified and acceptable financial reporting framework (e.g. international
or local accounting standards and
This view of audit is presented by ISA 200
Objective and General Principles Governing an Audit of Financial
The phrases used; “to express the auditor’s opinion” means that the
financial statements give a true and fair
view or have been presented fairly in all material respects.
True and fair presentation means that the financial statement are prepared
and presented in accordance with
the requirements of the applicable International Financial Reporting
Standards (IFRS) and local
What we can understand as the essential features of an audit from the above
definition and explanation are
• An auditor involves in examination of financial statements, the
auditor is not responsible for the
preparation of the financial statements.
• The end result of an audit is an opinion to assist the user of the
financial statements. Auditing
therefore relies heavily on professional judgment, not merely on the facts.
• The auditor’s opinion makes reference to “true and fair” or “fair
presentations” but “true and fair”
is again a matter of judgment. It is not precisely defined for the auditor.
• In order to make the user of the auditor’s report able to feel
confident in relying on such report, the
auditor should be independent of the entity. Independent essentially means
that the auditor has no
significant personal interest in the entity. This allows an objective,
professional view to be taken.
You will note that this is a wide concept of an audit which can be applied
to any entity, not just to limited
companies. However, in this course, we are concerned primarily with audits
of limited companies (often
known as statutory or external audits). Any other audit applications will be
clearly indicated for you in the
Why is there a need for an audit?
The problem that has always existed at the time when the manager reports to
the owners is that: whether
the owners will believe the report or not? This is because the reports may:
a. Contain errors
b. Not disclose fraud
c. Be inadvertently misleading
d. Be deliberately misleading
e. Fail to disclose relevant information
f. Fail to conform to regulations
The solution to this problem of credibility in reports and accounts lies in
appointing an independent person
called an auditor to examine the financial statements and report on his
A further point is that modern companies can be very large with
multi-national activities. The preparation
of the accounts of such groups is a very complex operation involving the
bringing together and
summarizing of accounts of subsidiaries with differing conventions, legal
systems and accounting and
control systems. The examination of such accounts by independent experts who
are trained in the
assessment of financial information is of benefit to those who control and
operate such organizations as
well as to owners and outsiders.
Many financial statements must conform to statutory or other requirements.
The most notable is that all
company accounts have to conform to the requirements of the Companies
Ordinance 1984 but many other
bodies (like: Charities, Building Societies, Financial Services business
etc) have detailed accounting
requirements as required by the relevant legislations. In addition all
accounts should conform to the
requirements of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs).
It is essential that an audit of financial statements should be carried out
to ensure that they conform to these
What is the distinction between auditing and accounting?
Relationship between auditing and accounting
Auditing and accounting are closely connected but both are separate
activities. The directors of a company
are responsible for establishing books of accounts that will accurately
record financial information and that
are used for preparing the annual financial statements. It is similarly the
responsibility of the directors to
adopt consistent and appropriate accounting policies in order to prepare and
present the financial
statements. The financial statements have to comply with national
legislative requirements and International
Financial Reporting Standards (IFRSs).
Accounting is the process of recording, classifying, summarizing and
reporting financial information in a
logical/systematic manner for the purpose of decision making. To provide
relevant & reliable information,
accountants must have a thorough understanding of the principles and rules
that provide the basis for
preparing the financial statements.
In auditing the financial statements, the concern is with determining
whether the presented financial
statements properly (true and fair) reflect the financial information that
occurred during the accounting
period. Since auditors are primarily concerned with the end result of this
work i.e. do the financial
statements show a true and fair view? In order to arrive at their conclusion
the auditors must have a deep
knowledge and understanding of accounting (including applicable accounting
standards) and in practice, the
directors will consult with the auditors as to appropriate accounting
policies to follow.
Many financial statement users and members of the general public confuse
auditing with accounting. The
confusion results because most auditing is concerned with accounting
information, and many auditors have
considerable expertise in accounting matters. The confusion is increased by
giving the title “Chartered
Accountant” to individuals performing a major portion of the audit function.
Who can be an auditor?
For appointment as auditor of:
a) a Public Company or
b) a Private Company which is a subsidiary of a Public Company.
c) a Private Company having paid up capital of three million rupees or more.
The person must be a Chartered Accountant within the meaning of the
Chartered Accountants Ordinance,
For listed companies an auditor must have a satisfactory QCR (quality
control review) rating issued by
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