BY CPA Abdallah Mambo Dallu
Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly what a hiring manager would be asking you in the next interview? It’s so unfortunate that we cannot read minds. However, the question “Describe the Audit process for a new engagement” is a very common question for those intending to join the auditing profession. The question seems simple, so many people fail to prepare for it but it’s crucial. In most audit interviews, it is the central point of references as companies want to hire people who are passionate about the job, so you should have great answers.
The first step in conducting the individual audit engagement is to know the objective or purpose of the audit. This will depend on the type of audit to be conducted: operational audits will seek to determine if the auditee’s operations are being run effectively and efficiently, financial audits will seek to determine if the auditee’s financial records are accurate or fairly stated, and compliance audits will seek to determine if the auditee is in compliance with laws, regulations, policies and procedures, or contracts. Internal audits may be conducted with one, two or all three of these objectives.
It is very important during this meeting for the two parties to “hit it off correctly” to ensure the successful completion of the audit. Internal auditors need to ensure that they make a favorable professional impression with the auditee. Key auditee personnel should be noted to ensure the auditor consults the correct individual for information during the audit. In addition, the auditors should determine the auditee’s areas of greatest concern. After the preliminary meeting, the auditors will gather the remaining information necessary to plan the audit. This will entail examining documents, observing operations, and interviewing key personnel. The basic objective of this phase is to obtain an understanding of the auditee’s operations, financial statements, or applicable laws, regulations, policies and procedures, and contracts, and document that understanding in work papers. Once this is accomplished areas of risk can be assessed and the adequacy of controls assessed.
STEP 3 – Develop an audit program and budget.
Senior management may decide to assume the risk of not correcting thereported condition because of cost or other considerations. The board ofdirectors should be informed of senior management’s decision on all significant audit findings.
Certain reported findings may be so significant as to require immediate action by management. These conditions should be monitored by internal auditors until corrected because of the effect they may have on the organization.