International Standards on Auditing (ISA) documentation 230 states that the auditor should document matters which are important in providing audit evidence to support the auditor’s opinion and evidence that the audit was carried out in accordance with ISAs. “Documentation” means the materials (working papers) prepared and for, or obtained and retained the auditor in connection with the performance of the audit. The The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) auditing standard No. 3 describes ‘audit documentation’ as ‘the written record of the basis for the auditor’s conclusions that provides the support for the auditor’s representations, whether those representations are contained in the auditor’s report or otherwise’.
Reasons for Preparing Sufficient and Appropriate Audit Documentation Preparing sufficient and appropriate audit documentation on a timely basis helps to:
• Enhance the quality of the audit, and
• Facilitate the effective review and evaluation of the audit evidence obtained and conclusions reached, before the audit report is finalized.
Documentation prepared at the time the work is performed is likely to be more accurate than documentation prepared later.
Other purposes of audit documentation include the following.
• Assisting the audit team to plan and perform the audit.
• Assisting supervisors in directing and supervising audit work.
• Ensuring members of the audit team are accountable for their work.
• Keeping a record of matters of continuing significance to future audits.
• Enabling an experienced auditor, with no previous connection with that audit, to conduct quality control reviews or other inspections i.e. understanding the work that has been performed and the conclusions that have been reached.