The audit process together with the review and controls to ensure quality of reports produced is set out in this diagram.
Ensuring audit quality
The Comptroller and Auditor General is assigned as auditor of the accounts of public bodies in accordance with law. The objective in carrying out the audit is to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the accounts prepared by the body have been presented in accordance with the relevant accounting framework or rules.
Most financial audits are conducted by our staff who are grouped into teams headed by a professionally qualified audit manager (senior auditor). Teams comprise both qualified accountants and trainees who are pursuing professional studies with one of the recognised professional accountancy bodies. We have a learning and development framework which includes continuous professional development for qualified staff.
In some cases, financial audits are undertaken by professional accountancy firms on our behalf. The responsibility for these audits rest with us.
We have established policies and processes to ensure the highest quality standards are achieved in the conduct of each financial audit.
There is an overarching framework in which all financial audits are conducted
- all audits are conducted in accordance with ISAs
- all audit staff are subject to code of behaviour and ethical standards
- we have a financial audit manual which sets out our methodology (how we apply the standards) to guide staff on the conduct of the audit
- we have an electronic audit recording system which documents all work performed and evidence obtained for each audit.
Audit process and review
The audit process involves a number of stages – planning, fieldwork and review. There are a number of levels of review to ensure the correct decision and conclusions are reached. For selected audits, there is an additional review by a senior manager who is independent of the audit team.
Our quality control system for financial audit contains measures to monitor quality including reviews of
- all audits undertaken by commercial firms by a senior manager prior to certification
- a sample of audits post certification by an external reviewer every two years
- review by the C&AG of a sample of audits where he has delegated the signing of the audit opinion.
Findings from these reviews are assessed and incorporated into the training needs of the Office. We also consider any recommendations for improvements arising from reviews and where appropriate adjust our audit systems and methodology. We also consider the lessons learned for individual audits, where relevant.
Staff can also raise concerns with audit quality with a senior manager independent of the audit process. We also encourage feedback from the public and audited bodies on the quality of our service.