AN AUDIT OF FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
OBJECTIVE AND GENERAL PRINCIPLES GOVERNING
AN AUDIT OF FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
Objective of an Audit:
Objective of an audit of financial statements is to enable an
auditor to express an opinion whether the
financial statements are prepared, in all material respects, in
accordance with an identified financial reporting
framework (e.g. International or Local Accounting Standards).
The terms used to express the opinion are “give a true and fair
view” or “present fairly in all material
Benefit of opinion
It improves credibility of financial statements.
What an opinion does not achieve?
It does not provide any assurance about
i) Future viability of the entity; and
ii) Efficiency or effectiveness of management.
General Principles of an Audit:
There are a number of ethical matters that are extremely
important for auditors to consider when
performing their work. It is vital to the public image and
credibility of the profession that the
auditor is seen to be behaving in an acceptable manner in
addition to actually complying with the
It is important to recognize that many groups in society rely on
accountant’s work, not just the
shareholders on whose behalf the accountant is working. The
accountant therefore has a public
In the light of this, ICAP’s ethical guidelines emphasis the
following key points about the
characteristics of accountants:
Auditor is independent of management i.e. he is not under the
control or influence of
Auditor is honest and is not corrupt. He is straight forward in
performing his professional
He obtains the evidence needed to form an opinion and his
opinion is based on that
evidence alone. He is not subjective in forming his opinion.
Competence and Due Care:
Auditor has attained certain professional qualification, has
acquired the requisite skill and
has attained the experience necessary for the audit and performs
his work with planning
and due diligence.
Auditor neither discloses the information obtained during the
course of his audit without
permission of his client (except when required in a court of
law) nor uses that information
He should not only act in a professional manner but should also
appear to be a
professional. He should maintain his professional knowledge and
skill at a level required to
ensure that a client or employer receives the benefit of
competent professional service
based on up-to-date developments in auditing practice and
Audit should be performed by following certain standards,
international or national.
International Standards on Auditing (ISAs)
The auditor should follow basic principles and essential
procedures together with related guidance
as contained in ISAs.
International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) are issued by the
International Auditing Practices
Committee (IAPC). The IAPC is a standing committee of the
Council of the International
Federation of Accountants (IFAC), which was formed in 1977 and
is based in New York. IFAC
has more than 150 member bodies, representing over 2 million
accountants in more than 100
countries, and membership of IFAC automatically confers
The IAPC issued standards and statements on auditing and related
services in order to improve the
degree of uniformity of auditing practice and related services
throughout the world.
The IAPC works closely with its members and national standard
setters in order to gain acceptance
of international Standards of Auditing (ISAs). Member bodies
have increasingly sought to align the
national position with the international positions IFAC and the
IASC have gained influence and
recognition. Standard setters increasingly refer to the
international position in their consultative
documents as authoritative support for a particular view.
International auditing and accounting standards do not at
present override local regulations.
Neither IFAC nor the IASC can currently compel any organization
to comply with international
standards; nor are there specific sanctions where organizations
claim to have complied with
international standards, but have not done so.
The preface to International Standards on Auditing and Related
Services (ISA 100) states that IAPC guidance
falls into two categories:
Standards on Auditing (ISAs).
ISAs contain basic principles and essential procedures
(identified in bold type black lettering),
together with related guidance in the form of explanatory and
other material (in plain type)
The basic principles and essential procedures are to be
understood and applied in the context of
explanatory and other material that provides guidance for their
application. The text of a whole
standard is considered in order to understand and apply the
basic principles and essential
Auditing Practice Statements (IAPSs).
In conducting an audit in accordance with ISAs, the auditor is
also aware of and considers
International Auditing Practice Statements (IAPSs) applicable to
the audit engagement.
IAPSs provide practical assistance to auditors in implementing
standards and promote good
practice. They are not intended to have the authority of
The auditor may also conduct the audit in accordance with both
ISAs and auditing standards of a specific jurisdiction
The audit should be planned and performed with an attitude of
professional skepticism i.e. forming
an opinion only after obtaining sufficient and appropriate audit
evidence instead of blindly
accepting any information or explanation given by the
An attitude of professional skepticism means the auditor makes a
critical assessment, with a
questioning mind, of the validity of audit evidence obtained and
is alert to audit evidence that
contradicts or brings into question the reliability of documents
and responses to inquiries and other
information obtained from management and those charged with
SCOPE OF AN AUDIT
What does it mean?
The term “scope of an audit” refers to the audit procedures
that, in the auditor’s judgment and
based on the ISAs, are deemed appropriate in the circumstances
to achieve the objective of the
Audit procedures (based
It is obtained by applying necessary audit procedures. Audit
procedures should be based on requirements of
ISAs, relevant professional bodies, legislation, regulations,
and the terms of the audit engagement and
Auditing is concerned with the verification of accounting date
and with determining the accuracy and
reliability of accounting statements and reports.
Verification does not mean seeking proof or absolute certainty
in connection with the data and reports
being audited. It means looking for sufficient evidence depends
on what experience and knowledge of
contemporary auditing standards tells one is satisfactory.
An auditor obtains audit evidence regarding management’s
assertions for the following areas:
an asset or liability exists at the
Balance Sheet date. This is an obvious assertion with such
items as land and buildings, stocks and others
obligations: an asset or liability
pertains to the entity at the Balance Sheet date. This
means that the enterprise has for example ownership of an asset.
Ownership as an idea is not simple
and there may be all sorts of rights and obligations connected
with a given asset or liability.
a transaction or event took place which
pertains to the enterprise during the relevant
period. It may be possible for false transactions (e.g. sales or
purchases) to be recorded. The assertion is
that all recorded transactions actually took place.
there are not unrecorded assets,
liabilities, transactions or events or undisclosed items.
This is important for all accounts items but is especially
important for liabilities.
an asset or liability is recorded at an
appropriate carrying value Appropriate may mean in
accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, the
companies Act rules, Accounting
Standards requirements and consistent with statements of
accounting policies consistently applied.
a transaction or event is recorded at
the proper amount and revenue or expense
allocated to the proper period.
and disclosure: an item is disclosed,
classified and described in accordance with
applicable reporting framework. For example fixed assets are
subject to the Companies Ordinance rules
and to IAS 16.
We will look at an item in a balance sheet, bank overdraft Rs.
10,250. In reporting this item in the balance
sheet, the directors are making these assertions:
a. That there is a liability to the company’s bankers.
b. That at the balance sheet date this liability was Rs. 10,250.
c. That this amount is agreed by the bank
d. That the overdraft was repayable on demand. If this were not
so, it would not appear amongst the
current liabilities and terms would be stated.
e. That the overdraft was not secured. If it were secured this
fact would need to be stated.
f. That the company has the Authority to borrow from its
Memorandum and Articles.
g. That a bank reconciliation statement can be prepared.
h. That the bank is willing to let the overdraft continue.
If no item ‘bank overdraft’ appeared in the balance sheet, it
would represent an assertion by the directors
that no overdraft liability existed at the balance sheet date.
What is reasonable assurance?
A conclusion that the financial statements are not materially
misstated. An auditor cannot obtain absolute
assurance because of limitations described in Para below.
How reasonable assurance is achieved?
It is achieved by obtaining audit evidence.
Factors affecting reasonable assurance
i) Inherent limitation of an audit, i.e. failure of audit
procedures to detect material
misstatements in financial statements because of:
a) The use of testing (application of procedures on samples).
b) The inherent limitations of accounting and internal control
c) Persuasive nature of audit evidence rather than conclusive
(Persuasive: one leading
to an opinion; one which causes to believe; Conclusive: final,
ii) Exercise of judgment by the auditor in gathering of evidence
and drawing of conclusion.
iii) Existence of other limitations like related parties etc.
Audit Risk and Materiality
Guidance provided by ISA 200 in this matter is discussed in
later chapters which specifically and exclusively
Responsibility for the Financial Statements:
Responsibilities for preparing and presenting the financial
statements are that of management. Auditor’s
responsibility is to express an opinion thereon.