An audit work programme is defined as a guideline for auditors in execution of their role. Traditionally, the audit work programme is in the form of a document that states the procedures that auditors will follow during their work. With increased technology adoption, audit work programs are now available digitally engrained in audit software such as auditproo. These procedures are to ensure that auditors meet the specific criteria for an audit assignment. The audit work program covers specific areas of an audit. For example, auditors will prepare an audit program for investments, revenue, expenses, etc.

Audit work programmes seek to create a framework through which auditors obtain guidance during the actual audit. Audit work programmes exemplify the plan of action for the audit execution. Audit work programmes are at the heart of the audit, we examine some of the benefits derived from this critical audit tool.

  1. Audit work programme helps to keep in control

The audit engagement lead is able to distribute work among the members of the audit team and assistants as per their level of competence and experience; they will do this through assigning the more technical areas of the audit to the more experienced team, this is driven by the audit risk planning outcome. Through a well-developed audit program, the engagement partner can judge the efficiency of the audit team. He is in the position to know the progress of work. Using digital files, he can see at any time that what part of the work has been completed and what remains to be done. The engagement partner can also compare the work performed by the assistants on the basis of audit program assigned and be able to make the necessary intervention where deficiencies have been observed.

Audit work programmes enable the division of work among the audit associates; this ensures a comprehensive coverage of all the areas under the audit scope. If audits are performed on the basis of audit program every year, uniformity can be maintained which helps generate comparative reports and measure progress.

  1. Audit work programmes are evidence of work done

Audit work programme is legal evidence of work completed by the audit team, this can come in handy especially in refuting claims of professional negligence and/or during audit quality reviews conducted either a through a peer review mechanism or a regulatory body audit. Evidence is used to back up or refute arguments, and it helps us to make decisions at work. Using evidence allows us to work out what is effective and what is not. Audit work programmes can be presented in the court of law against claims of misfeasance or negligence and can get clearance from such accusation.

The advantages of evidence-based practice also include the ability to evolve and individualize audits, reduce cost, and enhance the expertise Evidence-based practice in advancement of better audit methodology, driving actions to be based on the best available credible evidence and to restrict the opinions of experts to be taken only as opinions rather than proven facts. Credible evidence is a combination of findings from a study that must include accuracy, validity, appropriateness of data, verification and corroboration of multiple data sources, and validation of data findings.

Without the implementation of evidence-based practice, audit clients are at risk of receiving outdated, possibly harmful advice. Perpetual learning and evidence-based practice are important because evidence is continually evolving, and new findings are emerging. Firms that maintain their evidence in digital format (such as auditproo) have an edge over traditional paper form because of ease of retrieval and posterity associated with digital content. On audit file completion, the files are a permanent record which may be useful for future reference.

  1. Audit work programmes are a training tool.

Audit work programmes are vital to newly recruited audit staff; they provide structured training and guidance. Productivity is essential for profitability and offering employee training is one of the most straightforward ways firms can increase their outputs. Learning how to use new technologies or tools can significantly cut the time it takes to perform everyday tasks. Audit work programmes are a guide on how to execute the audit itself and are therefore an important training tool especially for firms with high employee turn over or who are constantly recruiting at audit associate entry level.

The benefits of training employees are many and training the audit staff through use of work programmes is no exception. When auditors are up to date on the latest audit standards and management of audit risk, they possess the skills they need to succeed, they are prepared to pivot. In today’s rapidly changing environment, audit firms need to adapt to new challenges and client demands. Firms that haven’t invested in developing their employees are likely to fall behind. Audit firms with the ability to quickly switch gears especially in technology adoption and employee training will end up with a major competitive advantage.

  1. Audit work programmes drives productivity

Audit work programmes increases the efficiency of audit staff, this is largely because work is standardised, and execution is therefore better optimised. Additionally, because of their standard nature, audit work programmes reduce the possibility of errors and negligence and the need for rework is minimized. Audit work programmes are a guidance that ensures that the whole work of audit has been properly executed and nothing has been omitted. When done smoothly with uniformity, the auditor can proceed well with the same set programme in subsequent audits and therefore continuously drive efficiency in audit execution.

The benefit of being more productive means taking control of your time and energy and directing that focused time towards those activities, people and projects that create the biggest impact. The benefits of being more productive cannot be gainsaid. Productivity lets you to accomplish bigger and better results more efficiently. Productivity is at the heart of every successful practise.

  1. Audit work programmes drives improved audit quality assurance

Audit work programmes provides a framework through which the engagement partner and/or the reviewing partner responsible for audit quality assurance is able to satisfy herself on the actual work that has been completed and whether the work has been executed according to the audit plan. Wherever necessary, the work done can be traced back to auditor that had been assigned the specific work programme, this is especially efficient for digitally maintained records.

Without a written and pre-determined program, there is always the risk of ignoring or overlooking certain audit aspects. Under a properly framed program, this risk is significantly reduced and the audit can proceed systematically so that the engagement partner can confidently accept responsibility for the work done.

Parting shot

Audit work programs are documentation that provides auditors with a guideline for their work. Audit work programmes ensure that auditors cover all scoped areas of an audit. The structure provided by audit work programs is important to audit firms and for continuous improvement of audit quality assurance. Audit work programmes provide guidance to the audit staff, maintains a record of the evidence obtained, helps ward off negligence claims, drives audit firm productivity and is a superbly important training tool for new audit assistants.  Audit firms should consider adoption of adequate procedures for promotion of audit quality assurance and protection and privacy of their working papers. Audit firms should also consider their adequacy in satisfying compliance, legal and/or professional requirements. These objectives can be met using audit software with pre-packed work programmes such as auditproo.

Published On: December 10th, 2022 / Categories: Quality Assurance / Comments Off on Audit Work Programme /

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