The auditor should carry out physical verification of cash at the date of the balance sheet. However, if this is not feasible, physical verification may be carried out, on a surprise basis, at any time shortly before or after the date of the balance sheet. In the latter case, the auditor should examine whether the cash balance shown in the financial statements reconciles with the results of the physical verification after taking into account the cash receipts and cash payments between the date of the physical verification and the date of the balance sheet. Besides physical verification at or around the date of the balance sheet, the auditor should also carry out surprise verification of cash during the year.
All cash balances in the same location should be verified simultaneously. Where petty cash is maintained one or more officials, the auditor should advise the entity to require the officials concerned to deposit the entire petty cash on hand on the last day with the cashier. The auditor should enquire whether the cashier also handles cash of sister concerns, staff societies, etc. In such a case, cash pertaining to them should also be verified at the same time so as to avoid chances of cash balances of one entity being presented as those of another. If IOUs (‘I owe you’) or other similar documents are found during physical verification, the auditor should obtain explanations from a senior official of the entity as to the reasons for such IOUs/other similar documents remaining pending. It should also be ensured that such IOUs/other similar documents are not shown as cash-on-hand. The quantum of torn or mutilated currency notes should be examined in the context of the size and nature of business of the entity. The auditor should also examine whether such currency notes are exchanged within a reasonable time.
If, during the course of the audit, it comes to the attention of the auditor that the entity is consistently maintaining an unduly large balance of cash- on-hand, he should carry out surprise verification of cash more frequently to ascertain whether the actual cash-on-hand agrees with the balances as shown the books. If the cash-on-hand is not in agreement with the balance as shown in the books, he should seek explanations from a senior official of the entity. In case any material difference is not satisfactorily explained, the auditor should state this fact appropriately in his audit report. In any case, he should satisfy himself regarding the necessity for such large balances having regard to the normal working requirements of the entity. The entity may also be advised to deposit the whole or the major part of the cash balance in the bank at reasonable intervals. Where postdated cheques are on hand on the balance sheet date, the auditor should verify that they have not been accounted for as collections during the period under audit.