Strengthen Your Audits: Addressing Risk Assessment and Fraud

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| Caroline Daly

While carrying out file reviews, some common areas for improvement have been identified that you may find very useful. These are mainly related to the revised International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) 315 and 240.

These updates significantly impact how auditors approach risk assessments and fraud identification. Here's what you need to know:

  • Adapting to New Standards: The introduction of a new risk matrix, "significant risk" category, and increased focus on specific areas like related parties and accounting estimates requires a shift in your auditing practices. Firms are still navigating these changes, leading to inconsistencies during implementation.
  • Enhanced Focus on Fraud: Standards now demand a broader view on fraud, including specific consideration of fraud risks from management override and revenue recognition in particular (both of which should be considered significant risks), as well as unusual transactions, accounting estimates and related party transactions. Consider how to strengthen your fraud detection skills.
  • Mandatory IT Assessments: The inclusion of mandatory IT assessments adds a new layer of complexity. Auditors need to possess or build the capability to evaluate IT-related risks and controls effectively.
  • Professional Scepticism and Risk Assessment Customisation: Maintaining a healthy dose of professional scepticism is crucial. Standards emphasise customising risk assessments for each client, demanding meticulous documentation. Striking a balance between scepticism and trust while tailoring risk assessments to specific contexts can be challenging.
  • Detailed Documentation of Risk Assessments: The revised standards require linking risks of material misstatement to specific audit assertions and detailing planned work to address these concerns. This level of detail and customisation in documentation is proving to be a common area for improvement.
  • Operational Effectiveness of Controls: The updated standards require distinct evaluations of inherent and control risks. If control effectiveness isn't verified, control risk defaults to the level of inherent risk. This necessitates a deep understanding and nuanced judgement regarding the efficacy of a client's controls, which can be a complex task.

What You Can Do

These recent changes represent a shift towards a more thorough and detailed approach to auditing. We encourage you to familiarise yourselves with the revised ISAs and consider these steps to mitigate the highlighted issues:

  • Training and Development: Invest in training programs to equip your teams with the knowledge and skills required to effectively implement the new standards.
  • Enhanced Communication: Maintain clear and ongoing communication with clients regarding risk areas identified during the audit process.
  • Review and Update Your Procedures: Ensure your risk assessment and fraud detection procedures align with the revised ISAs 315 and 240.
  • Focus on Documentation: Develop robust documentation practices that clearly link risks, assertions, and planned audit work.
  • Embrace Technology: Consider utilising technological tools that can assist with IT risk assessments and data analysis for fraud detection.

By taking these proactive measures, you can ensure your firm's compliance with the new standards and enhance the quality of your audits. If you have any questions or require further assistance with any of your file reviews, please don't hesitate to contact us.

The contents of this article are meant as a guide only and are not a substitute for professional advice. The author/s accept no responsibility for any action taken, or refrained from, as a result of the material contained in this document. Specific advice should be obtained before acting or refraining from acting, in connection with the matters dealt with in this article.

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About the Author

Caroline is the newest member of the OmniPro Practice Support team, joining in November 2023. Caroline is responsible for carrying out both hot and cold file reviews, as well as financial statement reviews, annual compliance reviews, anti-money laundering compliance reviews and pre-monitoring visit compliance reviews. Prior to joining OmniPro, Caroline previously worked in practice for almost 15 years where she was audit manager. She prepared accounts, audited financial statements, prepared both income and corporation tax returns and other ad-hoc duties. Caroline studied Accounting and Finance in DCU and also completed a Masters in Accounting. She is a qualified Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Advisor.


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