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[The following paragraphs were deleted, effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2010. See PCAOB Release No. 2010-004.

Return to the current version.]

3.    The Auditor's Consideration of the Completeness Assertion

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Question—Section 326, Evidential Matter, paragraph .03, identifies five categories of assertions that are embodied in financial statement components. In obtaining audit evidence about four of these categories—existence or occurrence, rights and obligations, valuation or allocation, and presentation and disclosure—the auditor considers transactions and accounts that are included in the financial statements. In contrast, in obtaining audit evidence about the completeness assertion, the auditor considers whether transactions and accounts have been improperly excluded from the financial statements. May management's written representations and the auditor's assessment of control risk constitute sufficient audit evidence about the completeness assertion? [Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

 

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Interpretation—Written representations from management are a part of the evidential matter the auditor obtains in an audit performed in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. Management's representations about the completeness assertion, whether considered alone or in combination with the auditor's assessment of control risk, do not constitute sufficient audit evidence to support that assertion. Obtaining such representations complements but does not replace other auditing procedures that the auditor should perform. [Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

 

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In planning audit procedures to obtain evidence about the completeness assertion, the auditor should consider the inherent risk that transactions and accounts have been improperly omitted from the financial statements. When the auditor assesses the inherent risk of omission for a particular account balance or class of transactions to be such that he believes omissions could exist that might be material when aggregated with errors in other balances or classes, he should restrict the audit risk of omission by performing substantive tests designed to obtain evidence about the completeness assertion. Substantive tests designed primarily to obtain evidence about the completeness assertion include analytical procedures and tests of details of related populations. fn 2 [Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

 

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The extent of substantive tests of completeness may properly vary in relation to the assessed level of control risk. Because of the unique nature of the completeness assertion, an assessed level of control risk below the maximum may be an effective means for the auditor to obtain evidence about that assertion. Although an assessed level of control risk below the maximum is not required to satisfy the auditor's objectives with respect to the completeness assertion, the auditor should consider that for some transactions (e.g., revenues that are received primarily in cash, such as those of a casino or of some charitable organizations) it may be difficult to limit audit risk for those assertions to an acceptable level without an assessed level of control risk below the maximum. [Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

[Issue Date: April, 1986.]

4.    Applying Auditing Procedures to Segment Disclosures in Financial Statements

 

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Introduction—Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Statement No. 131, Disclosures about Segments of an Enterprise and Related Information [AC section S30], establishes standards for the way that public business enterprises fn 3 disclose information about segments in annual financial statements and in condensed financial statements of interim periods issued to shareholders. FASB Statement No. 131 [AC section S30] does not apply to nonpublic entities or to not-for-profit organizations, although those entities are encouraged to provide the disclosures described therein. FASB Statement No. 131 [AC section S30] is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 1997. [Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

 

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FASB Statement No. 131 [AC section S30] requires that public business enterprises report financial and descriptive information about their reportable operating segments including factors used to identify reportable segments; a measure of profit or loss, certain revenue and expense items, and assets of reportable operating segments and the basis of measurement of these items; and reconciliations of these measures and any other significant operating segment items to enterprise totals. FASB Statement No. 131 [AC section S30] requires that the management approach be used to identify operating segments and to measure the financial information disclosed about operating segments. The management approach focuses on the financial information that an entity's chief operating decision maker (chief executive officer, chief operating officer or other individual or group exercising similar decision-making authority) uses internally to evaluate the performance of, and to allocate resources to, segments. FASB Statement No. 131 [AC section S30] also requires that public business enterprises report certain information about products and services, geographic areas, and major customers regardless of whether that information is used by management in assessing segment performance. [Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

 

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Question—What is the auditor's objective when applying auditing procedures to segment disclosures in an entity's financial statements? [Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

 

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Interpretation—The auditor performing an audit of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards considers segment disclosures, as other informative disclosures, in relation to the financial statements taken as a whole. Accordingly, the auditor is not required to apply procedures as extensive as would be necessary to express an opinion on the segment information taken by itself. [Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

 

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Question—What should the auditor consider with respect to segment disclosures in planning the audit? [Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

 

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Interpretation—The auditor should obtain an understanding of who performs the function of the chief operating decision maker (CODM), and how management organizes the entity into operating segments for internal reporting purposes. The auditor also should consider the nature and extent of differences, if any, between the information systems used to generate data that the CODM uses to allocate resources to, and evaluate results of, the operating segments and the information systems that generate data for external reporting purposes. When a different system is used to generate the data underlying segment disclosures, the auditor needs to obtain only a general understanding of that system. Consistent with the management approach to accounting for segments, auditing procedures primarily are directed at obtaining sufficient competent evidential matter to support conclusions that the segment information disclosed is the same information that is used by the CODM; that the basis on which the information was prepared is the basis disclosed and the disclosures are adequate; that aggregation criteria have been appropriately applied, if applicable; and that all significant segment items are reconciled to consolidated totals in the financial statements. The types of procedures needed to obtain such evidence are described in paragraphs .35 and .37 of this Interpretation. [Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

 

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Question—What procedures should the auditor consider performing to evaluate whether the entity appropriately identified its reportable operating segments in accordance with FASB Statement No. 131 [AC section S30]? [Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

 

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Interpretation—Procedures that the auditor should consider performing to evaluate whether the entity appropriately identified its reportable operating segments in accordance with FASB Statement No. 131 [AC section S30] include the following:

  1. Inquire of management concerning its methods of identifying operating segments, and consider the reasonableness of those methods in light of the characteristics of operating segments described in FASB Statement No. 131, paragraph 10 [AC section S30.109].
  2. Review corroborating evidence, such as information that the CODM uses to assess performance and allocate resources, material presented to the board of directors, minutes from the meetings of the board of directors, and information that management provides in management's discussion and analysis (MD&A), to financial analysts, and in the chairman's letter to shareholders, for consistency with financial statement disclosures.
  3. If the CODM uses more than one set of segment information for analyzing results of operations, consider whether management's identification of operating segments is in accordance with FASB Statement No. 131, paragraphs 13 through 15 [AC section S30.112-114].
  4. Assess whether the entity has applied aggregation criteria, if applicable, and quantitative thresholds described in FASB Statement No. 131, paragraphs 17 through 24 [AC section S30.116-123], appropriately to determine its reportable operating segments.
  5. Obtain management's written representation that operating segments are appropriately identified and disclosed in accordance with FASB Statement No. 131 [AC section S30].

[Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

 

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Question—What procedures should the auditor consider performing to evaluate the adequacy and completeness of management's disclosures about reportable operating segments and about products and services, geographic areas, and major customers? [Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

 

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Interpretation—The tests of underlying accounting records normally applied in an audit of financial statements may provide evidence about management's disclosures of information about products and services, geographic areas, and major customers, as well as how management allocates the entity's revenue, expenses, and assets among operating segments. The auditor should consider applying the following procedures to obtain additional evidence about segment disclosures:

  1. Perform analytical procedures on the information about segments to identify and provide a basis for inquiry about relationships and individual items that appear to be unusual and may indicate misstatements. Analytical procedures, for purposes of this Interpretation, consist of comparison of the segment information with comparable information for the immediately preceding year and comparison of the segment information with any available related budgeted information for the current year. In applying these procedures, the auditor should consider the types of matters that in the preceding year have required accounting adjustments of segment information.
  2. Evaluate the adequacy of disclosures with regard to (i) general information; (ii) information about reported segment profit or loss, segment assets, and the basis of measurement; and (iii) reconciliations of the totals of segment revenues, reported profit or loss, assets and other significant items to corresponding enterprise amounts, as required in FASB Statement No. 131, paragraphs 26 through 32 [AC section S30.125-131].
  3. Review the reconciliations (including supporting schedules) of the totals of segment revenues, reported profit or loss, assets, and other significant items to consolidated totals to assess whether significant items are properly disclosed.
  4. If the composition of an entity's reportable segments changes as a result of an entity's reorganization of its internal structure, assess whether segment information for prior periods has been restated, if practicable, in accordance with FASB Statement No. 131, paragraph 34 [AC section S30.133]. If restatement is not practicable, assess whether the segment information for the current period is stated under both the old basis and the new basis of segmentation in the year in which the change occurs, if practicable, in accordance with FASB Statement No. 131, paragraph 35 [AC section S30.134].

[Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

 

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Question—What are the implications related to segment information for the auditor's report on the financial statements? [Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

 

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Interpretation—The auditor's standard report on financial statements prepared in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles implicitly applies to segment information included in those statements in the same manner that it applies to other informative disclosures in the financial statements. The auditor's standard report would not refer to segment information unless the audit revealed a misstatement or omission relating to the segment information that is material in relation to the financial statements taken as a whole or the auditor was unable to apply the auditing procedures that he or she considered necessary in the circumstances. The auditor should consider qualitative as well as quantitative factors in evaluating whether such a matter is material to the financial statements taken as a whole. The significance of a matter to a particular entity (for example, a misstatement of the revenue and operating profit of a relatively small segment that is represented by management to be important to the future profitability of the entity), the pervasiveness of a matter (for example, whether it affects the amounts and presentation of numerous items in the segment information), and the impact of a matter (for example, whether it distorts the trends reflected in the segment information) should all be considered in judging whether a matter relating to segment information is material to the financial statements taken as a whole. Accordingly, situations may arise in practice where the auditor will conclude that a matter relating to segment information is qualitatively material even though, in his or her judgment, it is quantitatively immaterial to the financial statements taken as a whole. [Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

 

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If the auditor concludes that an omission or misstatement of segment information is material to the financial statements taken as a whole, he or she should consider the reporting guidance in section 508, Reports on Audited Financial Statements, paragraphs .35 through .42, relating to departures from generally accepted accounting principles. If the auditor has been unable to perform auditing procedures on segment information that he or she considers necessary, the auditor should consider the reporting guidance in section 508.22 through .26 relating to scope limitations. [Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

 

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Auditors are not required to refer in their audit reports (a) to changes required by the implementation of FASB Statement No. 131 [AC section S30] or (b) to subsequent changes in operating segments, provided that the financial statements clearly disclose that the information presented in segment disclosures for earlier periods has been restated, where applicable. Such disclosure would be similar to that for reclassification of prior-year financial information made for comparative purposes. In financial statements where segment information for earlier periods has not been restated, auditors are not required to refer in their audit reports to the variance in disclosure between the comparative periods, provided the financial statements clearly disclose why the earlier periods have not been restated. [Paragraph renumbered by the amendment to Interpretation No. 2, April 2003.]

[Issue Date: August, 1998; Revised: April, 2003.]