The scope of an audit as described in AAS-2 on “Objective and Scope of the Audit of Financial Statements” is reproduced below :
The scope of an audit of financial statements will be determined by the auditor for having regard to the terms of the engagement, the requirement of relevant legislation and the pronouncements of the Institute. The terms of engagement cannot, however, restrict the scope of an audit in relation to matters which are prescribed by legislation or by the pronouncements of the Institute. The audit should be organized to cover adequately all aspects of the enterprise as far as they are relevant to the financial statements being audited. To form an opinion on the financial statements, the auditor should be reasonably satisfied as to whether the information contained in the underlying
accounting records and other source data is reliable and sufficient as the basis for the preparation of the financial statements. In forming his opinion, the auditor should also decide whether the relevant information is properly disclosed in the financial statements subject to statutory requirements, where applicable. The auditor assesses the reliability and sufficiency of the information contained in the underlying accounting records and other source data by :
- making a study and evaluation of accounting systems and internal controls on which he wishes to rely and testing those internal controls to determine the nature, extent and timing of other auditing procedures; and
- carrying out such other tests, enquiries and other verification procedures of accounting transactions and account balances as he considers appropriate in the particular circumstances.
The auditor determines whether the relevant information is properly disclosed in the financial statements
- comparing the financial statements with the underlying accounting records and other source data to see whether they properly summarize the transactions and events recorded therein; and
- considering the judgments that management has made in preparing the financial statements accordingly, the auditor assessees the selection and consistent application of accounting policies, the manner in which the information has been classified, and the adequacy of disclosure. In forming his opinion on the financial statements, the auditor follows procedures designed to satisfy himself that the financial statements reflect a true and fair view of the financial position and operation results of the enterprise. The auditor recognizes that because of the test nature and other inherent limitations of an audit together with inherent limitations of any system of internal control, there is an unavoidable risk that some material misstatements may remain undiscovered. While in many situations the discovery of material misstatement by management may often arise during the conduct of the audit, such discovery is not the main objective of audit nor is the auditor’s programme of work specifically designed for such discovery. The audit cannot, therefore, be relied upon to ensure the discovery of all frauds or errors but where the auditor has any indication that some fraud or error may have occurred which could result in material misstatement, the auditor should extend his procedures to confirm or dispel his suspicions.
The auditor is primarily concerned with items which either individually or as a group are material in relation to the affairs of an enterprise. However, it is difficult to lay down any definite standard by which materiality can be judged. Material items are those which might influence the decisions of the user of the financial statements. It is a matter in which a decision is arrived at on the basis of the auditor’s professional experience and judgment.
The auditor is not expected to perform duties which fall outside the scope of his competence. For example, the professional skill required of an auditor does not include that of a technical expert for determining physical condition of certain assets.
Constraints on the scope of the audit of financial statements that impair the auditor’s ability to express an unqualified opinion on such financial statement should be set out in his report, and a qualified opinion or disclaimer of opinion should be expressed as appropriate.