Timing in the audit process can be an issue and may change the way you discuss the issue.
- If the audit has not yet been accepted, consider acceptance issues. Do not jump into a discussion in a way that assumes you’ve accepted the engagement (unless case facts indicate that you will). You may need to state whether your firm should do this audit in the first place.
- If the audit is accepted but has not yet been started, consider audit planning issues. This is where you’d use the audit planning memo to plan out your audit.
- If the audit is in progress, consider procedures. Sometimes you’ll already have materiality set and risks identified and you’ll need to discuss audit procedures.
- If the audit is already complete, consider the work performed and any errors. If the audit is complete you should not be suggesting new procedures or discussing materiality but discuss surrounding whether the work performed is sufficient to provide assurance and the materiality of errors or issues for the management letter.
Another issue which frequently pops up, and it’s easy to mention, is that your audit may have a scope limitation regarding opening balances. Don’t forget to mention this easy point if you cannot provide assurance over opening balances.