1. Evidential Matter for an Audit of Interim Financial Statements
Question—APB Opinion No. 28 [AC section I73] concluded that certain accounting principles and practices followed for annual reporting purposes may require modification at interim report dates. Paragraph 10 of Opinion No. 28 [AC section I73.103] states that the modifications are needed "so that the reported results for the interim period may better relate to the results of operations for the annual period." The modifications introduce a need for estimates to a greater extent than is necessary for annual financial information. Does this imply a relaxation of the third standard of field work, which requires that sufficient competent evidential matter be obtained to afford a reasonable basis for an opinion regarding the financial statements under audit?
Interpretation—No. The third standard of field work applies to all engagements leading to an expression of opinion on financial statements or financial information.
The objective of the independent auditor's engagement is to obtain sufficient competent evidential matter to provide him with a reasonable basis for forming an opinion. The auditor develops specific audit objectives in light of assertions by management that are embodied in financial statement components. Section 326.11 states, "In selecting particular substantive tests to achieve the audit objectives he has developed, an auditor considers, among other things, the risk of material misstatement of the financial statements, including the assessed level of control risk, and the expected effectiveness and efficiency of such tests. His considerations include the nature and materiality of the items being tested, the kinds and competence of available evidential matter, and the nature of the audit objective to be achieved."
Evidential matter obtained for an audit of annual financial statements may also be useful in an audit of interim financial statements, and evidential matter obtained for an audit of interim financial statements may also be useful in an audit of annual financial statements. Section 313.02 indicates that "Audit testing at interim dates may permit early consideration of significant matters affecting the year-end financial statements (for example, related party transactions, changed conditions, recent accounting pronouncements, and financial statement items likely to require adjustment)" and that "much of the audit planning, including obtaining an understanding of internal control and assessing control risk, and the application of substantive tests to transactions can be conducted prior to the balance-sheet date." fn 1 [As amended, August 1983, by issuance of Statement on Auditing Standards No. 45.] (See section 313.)
The introduction by Opinion No. 28 [AC section I73] of a need for additional estimates in measuring certain items for interim financial information may lead to a need for evidence in examining those items that differs from the evidence required in an audit of annual financial information. For example, computing the provision for federal income taxes in interim information involves estimating the effective tax rate expected to be applicable for the full fiscal year, and the auditor should examine evidence as to the basis for estimating that rate. Since the effective tax rate for the full year ordinarily is known at year-end, similar evidence is not usually required in examining annual information.
[Issue Date: February, 1974; Modified: October, 1980.]