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Auditing Standard No. 5

An Audit of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting That Is Integrated with An Audit of Financial Statements

Supersedes Auditing Standard No. 2

Effective Date: Fiscal years ending on or after November 15, 2007

Final Rule: PCAOB Release No. 2007-005A

Summary Table of Contents

Introduction

1.         This standard establishes requirements and provides direction that applies when an auditor is engaged to perform an audit of management's assessment 1/ of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting ("the audit of internal control over financial reporting") that is integrated with an audit of the financial statements. 2/

2.         Effective internal control over financial reporting provides reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes. 3/ If one or more material weaknesses exist, the company's internal control over financial reporting cannot be considered effective. 4/

[The following paragraph is effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2010. See PCAOB Release No. 2010-004. For audits of fiscal years beginning before December 15, 2010, click here.]

3.         The auditor's objective in an audit of internal control over financial reporting is to express an opinion on the effectiveness of the company's internal control over financial reporting. Because a company's internal control cannot be considered effective if one or more material weaknesses exist, to form a basis for expressing an opinion, the auditor must plan and perform the audit to obtain appropriate evidence that is sufficient to obtain reasonable assurance 5/ about whether material weaknesses exist as of the date specified in management's assessment. A material weakness in internal control over financial reporting may exist even when financial statements are not materially misstated.

4.         The general standards 6/ are applicable to an audit of internal control over financial reporting. Those standards require technical training and proficiency as an auditor, independence, and the exercise of due professional care, including professional skepticism. This standard establishes the fieldwork and reporting standards applicable to an audit of internal control over financial reporting.

5.         The auditor should use the same suitable, recognized control framework to perform his or her audit of internal control over financial reporting as management uses for its annual evaluation of the effectiveness of the company's internal control over financial reporting. 7/

Integrating the Audits

6.         The audit of internal control over financial reporting should be integrated with the audit of the financial statements. The objectives of the audits are not identical, however, and the auditor must plan and perform the work to achieve the objectives of both audits.

7.         In an integrated audit of internal control over financial reporting and the financial statements, the auditor should design his or her testing of controls to accomplish the objectives of both audits simultaneously -

  • To obtain sufficient evidence to support the auditor's opinion on internal control over financial reporting as of year-end, and
  • To obtain sufficient evidence to support the auditor's control risk assessments for purposes of the audit of financial statements.

8.         Obtaining sufficient evidence to support control risk assessments of low for purposes of the financial statement audit ordinarily allows the auditor to reduce the amount of audit work that otherwise would have been necessary to opine on the financial statements. (See Appendix B for additional direction on integration.)

Note: In some circumstances, particularly in some audits of smaller and less complex companies, the auditor might choose not to assess control risk as low for purposes of the audit of the financial statements. In such circumstances, the auditor's tests of the operating effectiveness of controls would be performed principally for the purpose of supporting his or her opinion on whether the company's internal control over financial reporting is effective as of year-end. The results of the auditor's financial statement auditing procedures also should inform his or her risk assessments in determining the testing necessary to conclude on the effectiveness of a control.

Planning the Audit

[The following paragraph is effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2010. See PCAOB Release No. 2010-004. For audits of fiscal years beginning before December 15, 2010, click here.]

9.         The auditor should properly plan the audit of internal control over financial reporting and properly supervise the engagement team members. When planning an integrated audit, the auditor should evaluate whether the following matters are important to the company's financial statements and internal control over financial reporting and, if so, how they will affect the auditor's procedures -

  • Knowledge of the company's internal control over financial reporting obtained during other engagements performed by the auditor;
  • Matters affecting the industry in which the company operates, such as financial reporting practices, economic conditions, laws and regulations, and technological changes;
  • Matters relating to the company's business, including its organization, operating characteristics, and capital structure;
  • The extent of recent changes, if any, in the company, its operations, or its internal control over financial reporting;
  • The auditor's preliminary judgments about materiality, risk, and other factors relating to the determination of material weaknesses;
  • Control deficiencies previously communicated to the audit committee 8/ or management;
  • Legal or regulatory matters of which the company is aware;
  • The type and extent of available evidence related to the effectiveness of the company's internal control over financial reporting;
  • Preliminary judgments about the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting;
  • Public information about the company relevant to the evaluation of the likelihood of material financial statement misstatements and the effectiveness of the company's internal control over financial reporting;
  • Knowledge about risks related to the company evaluated as part of the auditor's client acceptance and retention evaluation; and
  • The relative complexity of the company's operations.

Note: Many smaller companies have less complex operations. Additionally, some larger, complex companies may have less complex units or processes. Factors that might indicate less complex operations include: fewer business lines; less complex business processes and financial reporting systems; more centralized accounting functions; extensive involvement by senior management in the day-to-day activities of the business; and fewer levels of management, each with a wide span of control.

Role of Risk Assessment

10.       Risk assessment underlies the entire audit process described by this standard, including the determination of significant accounts and disclosures and relevant assertions, the selection of controls to test, and the determination of the evidence necessary for a given control.

11.       A direct relationship exists between the degree of risk that a material weakness could exist in a particular area of the company's internal control over financial reporting and the amount of audit attention that should be devoted to that area. In addition, the risk that a company's internal control over financial reporting will fail to prevent or detect misstatement caused by fraud usually is higher than the risk of failure to prevent or detect error. The auditor should focus more of his or her attention on the areas of highest risk. On the other hand, it is not necessary to test controls that, even if deficient, would not present a reasonable possibility of material misstatement to the financial statements.

12.       The complexity of the organization, business unit, or process, will play an important role in the auditor's risk assessment and the determination of the necessary procedures.

Scaling the Audit

13.       The size and complexity of the company, its business processes, and business units, may affect the way in which the company achieves many of its control objectives. The size and complexity of the company also might affect the risks of misstatement and the controls necessary to address those risks. Scaling is most effective as a natural extension of the risk-based approach and applicable to the audits of all companies.  Accordingly, a smaller, less complex company, or even a larger, less complex company might achieve its control objectives differently than a more complex company. 9/

Addressing the Risk of Fraud

[The following paragraph is effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2014. See PCAOB Release No. 2014-002. For audits of fiscal years beginning before December 15, 2014, click here.]

14.       When planning and performing the audit of internal control over financial reporting, the auditor should take into account the results of his or her fraud risk assessment. 10/ As part of identifying and testing entity-level controls, as discussed beginning at paragraph 22, and selecting other controls to test, as discussed beginning at paragraph 39, the auditor should evaluate whether the company's controls sufficiently address identified risks of material misstatement due to fraud and controls intended to address the risk of management override of other controls. Controls that might address these risks include -

  • Controls over significant transactions that are outside the normal course of business for the company or that otherwise appear to be unusual due to their timing, size, or nature ("significant unusual transactions"), particularly those that result in late or unusual journal entries;10A/
  • Controls over journal entries and adjustments made in the period-end financial reporting process;
  • Controls over related party transactions;
  • Controls related to significant management estimates; and
  • Controls that mitigate incentives for, and pressures on, management to falsify or inappropriately manage financial results.
[The following paragraph is effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2010. See PCAOB Release No. 2010-004. For audits of fiscal years beginning before December 15, 2010, click here.]

15.       If the auditor identifies deficiencies in controls designed to prevent or detect fraud during the audit of internal control over financial reporting, the auditor should take into account those deficiencies when developing his or her response to risks of material misstatement during the financial statement audit, as provided in paragraphs 65-69 of Auditing Standard No. 12, Identifying and Assessing Risks of Material Misstatement.

Using the Work of Others

16.       The auditor should evaluate the extent to which he or she will use the work of others to reduce the work the auditor might otherwise perform himself or herself. AU sec. 322, The Auditor's Consideration of the Internal Audit Function in an Audit of Financial Statements, applies in an integrated audit of the financial statements and internal control over financial reporting.

17.       For purposes of the audit of internal control, however, the auditor may use the work performed by, or receive direct assistance from, internal auditors, company personnel (in addition to internal auditors), and third parties working under the direction of management or the audit committee that provides evidence about the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting. In an integrated audit of internal control over financial reporting and the financial statements, the auditor also may use this work to obtain evidence supporting the auditor's assessment of control risk for purposes of the audit of the financial statements.

18.       The auditor should assess the competence and objectivity of the persons whose work the auditor plans to use to determine the extent to which the auditor may use their work. The higher the degree of competence and objectivity, the greater use the auditor may make of the work. The auditor should apply paragraphs .09 through .11 of AU sec. 322 to assess the competence and objectivity of internal auditors.  The auditor should apply the principles underlying those paragraphs to assess the competence and objectivity of persons other than internal auditors whose work the auditor plans to use.

Note: For purposes of using the work of others, competence means the attainment and maintenance of a level of understanding and knowledge that enables that person to perform ably the tasks assigned to them, and objectivity means the ability to perform those tasks impartially and with intellectual honesty. To assess competence, the auditor should evaluate factors about the person's qualifications and ability to perform the work the auditor plans to use.  To assess objectivity, the auditor should evaluate whether factors are present that either inhibit or promote a person's ability to perform with the necessary degree of objectivity the work the auditor plans to use.

Note:   The auditor should not use the work of persons who have a low degree of objectivity, regardless of their level of competence. Likewise, the auditor should not use the work of persons who have a low level of competence regardless of their degree of objectivity. Personnel whose core function is to serve as a testing or compliance authority at the company, such as internal auditors, normally are expected to have greater competence and objectivity in performing the type of work that will be useful to the auditor.

19.       The extent to which the auditor may use the work of others in an audit of internal control also depends on the risk associated with the control being tested. As the risk associated with a control increases, the need for the auditor to perform his or her own work on the control increases.

Materiality

20.       In planning the audit of internal control over financial reporting, the auditor should use the same materiality considerations he or she would use in planning the audit of the company's annual financial statements. 11/

Using a Top-Down Approach

21.       The auditor should use a top-down approach to the audit of internal control over financial reporting to select the controls to test. A top-down approach begins at the financial statement level and with the auditor's understanding of the overall risks to internal control over financial reporting. The auditor then focuses on entity-level controls and works down to significant accounts and disclosures and their relevant assertions. This approach directs the auditor's attention to accounts, disclosures, and assertions that present a reasonable possibility of material misstatement to the financial statements and related disclosures. The auditor then verifies his or her understanding of the risks in the company's processes and selects for testing those controls that sufficiently address the assessed risk of misstatement to each relevant assertion.

Note: The top-down approach describes the auditor's sequential thought process in identifying risks and the controls to test, not necessarily the order in which the auditor will perform the auditing procedures.

Identifying Entity-Level Controls

22.       The auditor must test those entity-level controls that are important to the auditor's conclusion about whether the company has effective internal control over financial reporting. The auditor's evaluation of entity-level controls can result in increasing or decreasing the testing that the auditor otherwise would have performed on other controls.

23.       Entity-level controls vary in nature and precision -

  • Some entity-level controls, such as certain control environment controls, have an important, but indirect, effect on the likelihood that a misstatement will be detected or prevented on a timely basis. These controls might affect the other controls the auditor selects for testing and the nature, timing, and extent of procedures the auditor performs on other controls.
  • Some entity-level controls monitor the effectiveness of other controls. Such controls might be designed to identify possible breakdowns in lower-level controls, but not at a level of precision that would, by themselves, sufficiently address the assessed risk that misstatements to a relevant assertion will be prevented or detected on a timely basis. These controls, when operating effectively, might allow the auditor to reduce the testing of other controls.
  • Some entity-level controls might be designed to operate at a level of precision that would adequately prevent or detect on a timely basis misstatements to one or more relevant assertions. If an entity-level control sufficiently addresses the assessed risk of misstatement, the auditor need not test additional controls relating to that risk.

24.       Entity-level controls include -

  • Controls related to the control environment;
  • Controls over management override;

    Note: Controls over management override are important to effective internal control over financial reporting for all companies, and may be particularly important at smaller companies because of the increased involvement of senior management in performing controls and in the period-end financial reporting process. For smaller companies, the controls that address the risk of management override might be different from those at a larger company. For example, a smaller company might rely on more detailed oversight by the audit committee that focuses on the risk of management override.

  • The company's risk assessment process;
  • Centralized processing and controls, including shared service environments;
  • Controls to monitor results of operations;
  • Controls to monitor other controls, including activities of the internal audit function, the audit committee, and self-assessment programs;
  • Controls over the period-end financial reporting process; and
  • Policies that address significant business control and risk management practices.

25.       Control Environment. Because of its importance to effective internal control over financial reporting, the auditor must evaluate the control environment at the company. As part of evaluating the control environment, the auditor should assess -

  • Whether management's philosophy and operating style promote effective internal control over financial reporting;
  • Whether sound integrity and ethical values, particularly of top management, are developed and understood; and
  • Whether the Board or audit committee understands and exercises oversight responsibility over financial reporting and internal control.

26.       Period-end Financial Reporting Process. Because of its importance to financial reporting and to the auditor's opinions on internal control over financial reporting and the financial statements, the auditor must evaluate the period-end financial reporting process. The period-end financial reporting process includes the following -

  • Procedures used to enter transaction totals into the general ledger;
  • Procedures related to the selection and application of accounting policies;
  • Procedures used to initiate, authorize, record, and process journal entries in the general ledger;
  • Procedures used to record recurring and nonrecurring adjustments to the annual and quarterly financial statements; and
  • Procedures for preparing annual and quarterly financial statements and related disclosures.

    Note: Because the annual period-end financial reporting process normally occurs after the "as-of" date of management's assessment, those controls usually cannot be tested until after the as-of date.

27.       As part of evaluating the period-end financial reporting process, the auditor should assess -

  • Inputs, procedures performed, and outputs of the processes the company uses to produce its annual and quarterly financial statements;
  • The extent of information technology ("IT") involvement in the period-end financial reporting process;
  • Who participates from management;
  • The locations involved in the period-end financial reporting process;
  • The types of adjusting and consolidating entries; and
  • The nature and extent of the oversight of the process by management, the board of directors, and the audit committee.

Note: The auditor should obtain sufficient evidence of the effectiveness of those quarterly controls that are important to determining whether the company's controls sufficiently address the assessed risk of misstatement to each relevant assertion as of the date of management's assessment. However, the auditor is not required to obtain sufficient evidence for each quarter individually.

Identifying Significant Accounts and Disclosures and Their Relevant Assertions

28.       The auditor should identify significant accounts and disclosures and their relevant assertions.  Relevant assertions are those financial statement assertions that have a reasonable possibility of containing a misstatement that would cause the financial statements to be materially misstated. The financial statement assertions include 12/ -

  • Existence or occurrence
  • Completeness
  • Valuation or allocation
  • Rights and obligations
  • Presentation and disclosure

Note: The auditor may base his or her work on assertions that differ from those in this standard if the auditor has selected and tested controls over the pertinent risks in each significant account and disclosure that have a reasonable possibility of containing misstatements that would cause the financial statements to be materially misstated.

29.       To identify significant accounts and disclosures and their relevant assertions, the auditor should evaluate the qualitative and quantitative risk factors related to the financial statement line items and disclosures. Risk factors relevant to the identification of significant accounts and disclosures and their relevant assertions include -

  • Size and composition of the account;
  • Susceptibility to misstatement due to errors or fraud;
  • Volume of activity, complexity, and homogeneity of the individual transactions processed through the account or reflected in the disclosure;
  • Nature of the account or disclosure;
  • Accounting and reporting complexities associated with the account or disclosure;
  • Exposure to losses in the account;
  • Possibility of significant contingent liabilities arising from the activities reflected in the account or disclosure;
  • Existence of related party transactions in the account; and
  • Changes from the prior period in account or disclosure characteristics.

30.       As part of identifying significant accounts and disclosures and their relevant assertions, the auditor also should determine the likely sources of potential misstatements that would cause the financial statements to be materially misstated.  The auditor might determine the likely sources of potential misstatements by asking himself or herself "what could go wrong?" within a given significant account or disclosure.

31.       The risk factors that the auditor should evaluate in the identification of significant accounts and disclosures and their relevant assertions are the same in the audit of internal control over financial reporting as in the audit of the financial statements; accordingly, significant accounts and disclosures and their relevant assertions are the same for both audits.

Note: In the financial statement audit, the auditor might perform substantive auditing procedures on financial statement accounts, disclosures and assertions that are not determined to be significant accounts and disclosures and relevant assertions. 13/

32.       The components of a potential significant account or disclosure might be subject to significantly differing risks. If so, different controls might be necessary to adequately address those risks.

33.       When a company has multiple locations or business units, the auditor should identify significant accounts and disclosures and their relevant assertions based on the consolidated financial statements. Having made those determinations, the auditor should then apply the direction in Appendix B for multiple locations scoping decisions.

Understanding Likely Sources of Misstatement

34.       To further understand the likely sources of potential misstatements, and as a part of selecting the controls to test, the auditor should achieve the following objectives -

  • Understand the flow of transactions related to the relevant assertions, including how these transactions are initiated, authorized, processed, and recorded;
  • Verify that the auditor has identified the points within the company's processes at which a misstatement - including a misstatement due to fraud - could arise that, individually or in combination with other misstatements, would be material;
  • Identify the controls that management has implemented to address these potential misstatements; and
  • Identify the controls that management has implemented over the prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company's assets that could result in a material misstatement of the financial statements.

35.       Because of the degree of judgment required, the auditor should either perform the procedures that achieve the objectives in paragraph 34 himself or herself or supervise the work of others who provide direct assistance to the auditor, as described in AU sec. 322.

[The following paragraph is effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2010. See PCAOB Release No. 2010-004. For audits of fiscal years beginning before December 15, 2010, click here.]

36.       The auditor also should understand how IT affects the company's flow of transactions. The auditor should apply paragraph 29 and Appendix B of Auditing Standard No. 12, Identifying and Assessing Risks of Material Misstatement, which discuss the effect of information technology on internal control over financial reporting and the risks to assess.

Note: The identification of risks and controls within IT is not a separate evaluation. Instead, it is an integral part of the top-down approach used to identify significant accounts and disclosures and their relevant assertions, and the controls to test, as well as to assess risk and allocate audit effort as described by this standard.

37.       Performing Walkthroughs. Performing walkthroughs will frequently be the most effective way of achieving the objectives in paragraph 34. In performing a walkthrough, the auditor follows a transaction from origination through the company's processes, including information systems, until it is reflected in the company's financial records, using the same documents and information technology that company personnel use. Walkthrough procedures usually include a combination of inquiry, observation, inspection of relevant documentation, and re-performance of controls.

38.       In performing a walkthrough, at the points at which important processing procedures occur, the auditor questions the company's personnel about their understanding of what is required by the company's prescribed procedures and controls. These probing questions, combined with the other walkthrough procedures, allow the auditor to gain a sufficient understanding of the process and to be able to identify important points at which a necessary control is missing or not designed effectively. Additionally, probing questions that go beyond a narrow focus on the single transaction used as the basis for the walkthrough allow the auditor to gain an understanding of the different types of significant transactions handled by the process.

Selecting Controls to Test

39.        The auditor should test those controls that are important to the auditor's conclusion about whether the company's controls sufficiently address the assessed risk of misstatement to each relevant assertion.

40.       There might be more than one control that addresses the assessed risk of misstatement to a particular relevant assertion; conversely, one control might address the assessed risk of misstatement to more than one relevant assertion. It is neither necessary to test all controls related to a relevant assertion nor necessary to test redundant controls, unless redundancy is itself a control objective.

41.       The decision as to whether a control should be selected for testing depends on which controls, individually or in combination, sufficiently address the assessed risk of misstatement to a given relevant assertion rather than on how the control is labeled (e.g., entity-level control, transaction-level control, control activity, monitoring control, preventive control, detective control).

Testing Controls

Testing Design Effectiveness

42.       The auditor should test the design effectiveness of controls by determining whether the company's controls, if they are operated as prescribed by persons possessing the necessary authority and competence to perform the control effectively, satisfy the company's control objectives and can effectively prevent or detect errors or fraud that could result in material misstatements in the financial statements.

Note: A smaller, less complex company might achieve its control objectives in a different manner from a larger, more complex organization. For example, a smaller, less complex company might have fewer employees in the accounting function, limiting opportunities to segregate duties and leading the company to implement alternative controls to achieve its control objectives. In such circumstances, the auditor should evaluate whether those alternative controls are effective.

43.       Procedures the auditor performs to test design effectiveness include a mix of inquiry of appropriate personnel, observation of the company's operations, and inspection of relevant documentation. Walkthroughs that include these procedures ordinarily are sufficient to evaluate design effectiveness.

Testing Operating Effectiveness

44.       The auditor should test the operating effectiveness of a control by determining whether the control is operating as designed and whether the person performing the control possesses the necessary authority and competence to perform the control effectively.

Note: In some situations, particularly in smaller companies, a company might use a third party to provide assistance with certain financial reporting functions. When assessing the competence of personnel responsible for a company's financial reporting and associated controls, the auditor may take into account the combined competence of company personnel and other parties that assist with functions related to financial reporting.

45.       Procedures the auditor performs to test operating effectiveness include a mix of inquiry of appropriate personnel, observation of the company's operations, inspection of relevant documentation, and re-performance of the control.

Relationship of Risk to the Evidence to be Obtained

46.       For each control selected for testing, the evidence necessary to persuade the auditor that the control is effective depends upon the risk associated with the control. The risk associated with a control consists of the risk that the control might not be effective and, if not effective, the risk that a material weakness would result. As the risk associated with the control being tested increases, the evidence that the auditor should obtain also increases.

Note: Although the auditor must obtain evidence about the effectiveness of controls for each relevant assertion, the auditor is not responsible for obtaining sufficient evidence to support an opinion about the effectiveness of each individual control. Rather, the auditor's objective is to express an opinion on the company's internal control over financial reporting overall. This allows the auditor to vary the evidence obtained regarding the effectiveness of individual controls selected for testing based on the risk associated with the individual control.

47.       Factors that affect the risk associated with a control include -

  • The nature and materiality of misstatements that the control is intended to prevent or detect;
  • The inherent risk associated with the related account(s) and assertion(s);
  • Whether there have been changes in the volume or nature of transactions that might adversely affect control design or operating effectiveness;
  • Whether the account has a history of errors;
  • The effectiveness of entity-level controls, especially controls that monitor other controls;
  • The nature of the control and the frequency with which it operates;
  • The degree to which the control relies on the effectiveness of other controls (e.g., the control environment or information technology general controls);
  • The competence of the personnel who perform the control or monitor its performance and whether there have been changes in key personnel who perform the control or monitor its performance;
  • Whether the control relies on performance by an individual or is automated (i.e., an automated control would generally be expected to be lower risk if relevant information technology general controls are effective); and

    Note: A less complex company or business unit with simple business processes and centralized accounting operations might have relatively simple information systems that make greater use of off-the-shelf packaged software without modification. In the areas in which off-the-shelf software is used, the auditor's testing of information technology controls might focus on the application controls built into the pre-packaged software that management relies on to achieve its control objectives and the IT general controls that are important to the effective operation of those application controls.

  • The complexity of the control and the significance of the judgments that must be made in connection with its operation.

Note: Generally, a conclusion that a control is not operating effectively can be supported by less evidence than is necessary to support a conclusion that a control is operating effectively.

48.       When the auditor identifies deviations from the company's controls, he or she should determine the effect of the deviations on his or her assessment of the risk associated with the control being tested and the evidence to be obtained, as well as on the operating effectiveness of the control.

Note: Because effective internal control over financial reporting cannot, and does not, provide absolute assurance of achieving the company's control objectives, an individual control does not necessarily have to operate without any deviation to be considered effective.

49.       The evidence provided by the auditor's tests of the effectiveness of controls depends upon the mix of the nature, timing, and extent of the auditor's procedures. Further, for an individual control, different combinations of the nature, timing, and extent of testing may provide sufficient evidence in relation to the risk associated with the control.

Note:   Walkthroughs usually consist of a combination of inquiry of appropriate personnel, observation of the company's operations, inspection of relevant documentation, and re-performance of the control and might provide sufficient evidence of operating effectiveness, depending on the risk associated with the control being tested, the specific procedures performed as part of the walkthrough and the results of those procedures.

50.       Nature of Tests of Controls. Some types of tests, by their nature, produce greater evidence of the effectiveness of controls than other tests. The following tests that the auditor might perform are presented in order of the evidence that they ordinarily would produce, from least to most: inquiry, observation, inspection of relevant documentation, and re-performance of a control.

Note: Inquiry alone does not provide sufficient evidence to support a conclusion about the effectiveness of a control.

[The following paragraph is effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2010. See PCAOB Release No. 2010-004. For audits of fiscal years beginning before December 15, 2010, click here.]

51.       The nature of the tests of effectiveness that will provide appropriate evidence depends, to a large degree, on the nature of the control to be tested, including whether the operation of the control results in documentary evidence of its operation. Documentary evidence of the operation of some controls, such as management's philosophy and operating style, might not exist.

Note: A smaller, less complex company or unit might have less formal documentation regarding the operation of its controls. In those situations, testing controls through inquiry combined with other procedures, such as observation of activities, inspection of less formal documentation, or re-performance of certain controls, might provide sufficient evidence about whether the control is effective.

52.       Timing of Tests of Controls. Testing controls over a greater period of time provides more evidence of the effectiveness of controls than testing over a shorter period of time. Further, testing performed closer to the date of management's assessment provides more evidence than testing performed earlier in the year. The auditor should balance performing the tests of controls closer to the as-of date with the need to test controls over a sufficient period of time to obtain sufficient evidence of operating effectiveness.

53.       Prior to the date specified in management's assessment, management might implement changes to the company's controls to make them more effective or efficient or to address control deficiencies. If the auditor determines that the new controls achieve the related objectives of the control criteria and have been in effect for a sufficient period to permit the auditor to assess their design and operating effectiveness by performing tests of controls, he or she will not need to test the design and operating effectiveness of the superseded controls for purposes of expressing an opinion on internal control over financial reporting. If the operating effectiveness of the superseded controls is important to the auditor's control risk assessment, the auditor should test the design and operating effectiveness of those superseded controls, as appropriate. (See additional direction on integration beginning at paragraph B1.)

54.       Extent of Tests of Controls . The more extensively a control is tested, the greater the evidence obtained from that test.

55.       Roll-Forward Procedures. When the auditor reports on the effectiveness of controls as of a specific date and obtains evidence about the operating effectiveness of controls at an interim date, he or she should determine what additional evidence concerning the operation of the controls for the remaining period is necessary.

56.       The additional evidence that is necessary to update the results of testing from an interim date to the company's year-end depends on the following factors -

  • The specific control tested prior to the as-of date, including the risks associated with the control and the nature of the control, and the results of those tests;
  • The sufficiency of the evidence of effectiveness obtained at an interim date;
  • The length of the remaining period; and
  • The possibility that there have been any significant changes in internal control over financial reporting subsequent to the interim date.

Note: In some circumstances, such as when evaluation of the foregoing factors indicates a low risk that the controls are no longer effective during the roll-forward period, inquiry alone might be sufficient as a roll-forward procedure.

Special Considerations for Subsequent Years' Audits

57.       In subsequent years' audits, the auditor should incorporate knowledge obtained during past audits he or she performed of the company's internal control over financial reporting into the decision-making process for determining the nature, timing, and extent of testing necessary. This decision-making process is described in paragraphs 46 through 56.

58.       Factors that affect the risk associated with a control in subsequent years' audits include those in paragraph 47 and the following -

  • The nature, timing, and extent of procedures performed in previous audits,
  • The results of the previous years' testing of the control, and
  • Whether there have been changes in the control or the process in which it operates since the previous audit.

59.       After taking into account the risk factors identified in paragraphs 47 and 58, the additional information available in subsequent years' audits might permit the auditor to assess the risk as lower than in the initial year. This, in turn, might permit the auditor to reduce testing in subsequent years.

60.       The auditor may also use a benchmarking strategy for automated application controls in subsequent years' audits. Benchmarking is described further beginning at paragraph B28.

61.       In addition, the auditor should vary the nature, timing, and extent of testing of controls from year to year to introduce unpredictability into the testing and respond to changes in circumstances. For this reason, each year the auditor might test controls at a different interim period, increase or reduce the number and types of tests performed, or change the combination of procedures used.

Evaluating Identified Deficiencies

62.       The auditor must evaluate the severity of each control deficiency that comes to his or her attention to determine whether the deficiencies, individually or in combination, are material weaknesses as of the date of management's assessment. In planning and performing the audit, however, the auditor is not required to search for deficiencies that, individually or in combination, are less severe than a material weakness.

63.       The severity of a deficiency depends on -

  • Whether there is a reasonable possibility that the company's controls will fail to prevent or detect a misstatement of an account balance or disclosure; and
  • The magnitude of the potential misstatement resulting from the deficiency or deficiencies.

64.       The severity of a deficiency does not depend on whether a misstatement actually has occurred but rather on whether there is a reasonable possibility that the company's controls will fail to prevent or detect a misstatement.

65.       Risk factors affect whether there is a reasonable possibility that a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, will result in a misstatement of an account balance or disclosure. The factors include, but are not limited to, the following -

  • The nature of the financial statement accounts, disclosures, and assertions involved;
  • The susceptibility of the related asset or liability to loss or fraud;
  • The subjectivity, complexity, or extent of judgment required to determine the amount involved;
  • The interaction or relationship of the control with other controls, including whether they are interdependent or redundant;
  • The interaction of the deficiencies; and
  • The possible future consequences of the deficiency.

Note: The evaluation of whether a control deficiency presents a reasonable possibility of misstatement can be made without quantifying the probability of occurrence as a specific percentage or range.

Note: Multiple control deficiencies that affect the same financial statement account balance or disclosure increase the likelihood of misstatement and may, in combination, constitute a material weakness, even though such deficiencies may individually be less severe. Therefore, the auditor should determine whether individual control deficiencies that affect the same significant account or disclosure, relevant assertion, or component of internal control collectively result in a material weakness.

66.       Factors that affect the magnitude of the misstatement that might result from a deficiency or deficiencies in controls include, but are not limited to, the following -

  • The financial statement amounts or total of transactions exposed to the deficiency; and
  • The volume of activity in the account balance or class of transactions exposed to the deficiency that has occurred in the current period or that is expected in future periods.

67.       In evaluating the magnitude of the potential misstatement, the maximum amount that an account balance or total of transactions can be overstated is generally the recorded amount, while understatements could be larger. Also, in many cases, the probability of a small misstatement will be greater than the probability of a large misstatement.

68.       The auditor should evaluate the effect of compensating controls when determining whether a control deficiency or combination of deficiencies is a material weakness. To have a mitigating effect, the compensating control should operate at a level of precision that would prevent or detect a misstatement that could be material.

Indicators of Material Weaknesses

69.       Indicators of material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting include -

  • Identification of fraud, whether or not material, on the part of senior management; 14/
  • Restatement of previously issued financial statements to reflect the correction of a material misstatement; 15/
  • Identification by the auditor of a material misstatement of financial statements in the current period in circumstances that indicate that the misstatement would not have been detected by the company's internal control over financial reporting; and
  • Ineffective oversight of the company's external financial reporting and internal control over financial reporting by the company's audit committee.

70.       When evaluating the severity of a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, the auditor also should determine the level of detail and degree of assurance that would satisfy prudent officials in the conduct of their own affairs that they have reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit the preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles. If the auditor determines that a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, might prevent prudent officials in the conduct of their own affairs from concluding that they have reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit the preparation of financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles, then the auditor should treat the deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, as an indicator of a material weakness. 

Wrapping-Up

Forming an Opinion

71.       The auditor should form an opinion on the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting by evaluating evidence obtained from all sources, including the auditor's testing of controls, misstatements detected during the financial statement audit, and any identified control deficiencies.

Note: As part of this evaluation, the auditor should review reports issued during the year by internal audit (or similar functions) that address controls related to internal control over financial reporting and evaluate control deficiencies identified in those reports.

72.       After forming an opinion on the effectiveness of the company's internal control over financial reporting, the auditor should evaluate the presentation of the elements that management is required, under the SEC's rules, to present in its annual report on internal control over financial reporting. 16/

73.       If the auditor determines that any required elements of management's annual report on internal control over financial reporting are incomplete or improperly presented, the auditor should follow the direction in paragraph C2.

74.       The auditor may form an opinion on the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting only when there have been no restrictions on the scope of the auditor's work. A scope limitation requires the auditor to disclaim an opinion or withdraw from the engagement (see paragraphs C3 through C7).

Obtaining Written Representations

75.       In an audit of internal control over financial reporting, the auditor should obtain written representations from management -

  1. Acknowledging management's responsibility for establishing and maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting;
  2. Stating that management has performed an evaluation and made an assessment of the effectiveness of the company's internal control over financial reporting and specifying the control criteria;
  3. Stating that management did not use the auditor's procedures performed during the audits of internal control over financial reporting or the financial statements as part of the basis for management's assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting;
  4. Stating management's conclusion, as set forth in its assessment, about the effectiveness of the company's internal control over financial reporting based on the control criteria as of a specified date;
  5. Stating that management has disclosed to the auditor all deficiencies in the design or operation of internal control over financial reporting identified as part of management's evaluation, including separately disclosing to the auditor all such deficiencies that it believes to be significant deficiencies or material weaknesses in internal control over financial reporting;
  6. Describing any fraud resulting in a material misstatement to the company's financial statements and any other fraud that does not result in a material misstatement to the company's financial statements but involves senior management or management or other employees who have a significant role in the company's internal control over financial reporting;
  7. Stating whether control deficiencies identified and communicated to the audit committee during previous engagements pursuant to paragraphs 78 and 80 have been resolved, and specifically identifying any that have not; and
  8. Stating whether there were, subsequent to the date being reported on, any changes in internal control over financial reporting or other factors that might significantly affect internal control over financial reporting, including any corrective actions taken by management with regard to significant deficiencies and material weaknesses.

76.       The failure to obtain written representations from management, including management's refusal to furnish them, constitutes a limitation on the scope of the audit. As discussed further in paragraph C3, when the scope of the audit is limited, the auditor should either withdraw from the engagement or disclaim an opinion. Further, the auditor should evaluate the effects of management's refusal on his or her ability to rely on other representations, including those obtained in the audit of the company's financial statements.

77.       AU sec. 333, Management Representations , explains matters such as who should sign the letter, the period to be covered by the letter, and when to obtain an updated letter.

Communicating Certain Matters

78.       The auditor must communicate, in writing, to management and the audit committee all material weaknesses identified during the audit. The written communication should be made prior to the issuance of the auditor's report on internal control over financial reporting.

79.       If the auditor concludes that the oversight of the company's external financial reporting and internal control over financial reporting by the company's audit committee is ineffective, the auditor must communicate that conclusion in writing to the board of directors.

[The following paragraph is effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2012. See PCAOB Release No. 2012-004. For audits of fiscal years beginning before December 15, 2012, click here.]

80.       The auditor also should consider whether there are any deficiencies, or combinations of deficiencies, that have been identified during the audit that are significant deficiencies and must communicate such deficiencies, in writing, to the audit committee. This communication should be made in a timely manner and prior to the issuance of the auditor's report on internal control over financial reporting.

[The following paragraph is effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2012. See PCAOB Release No. 2012-004. For audits of fiscal years beginning before December 15, 2012, click here.]

81.       The auditor also should communicate to management, in writing, all deficiencies in internal control over financial reporting (i.e., those deficiencies in internal control over financial reporting that are of a lesser magnitude than material weaknesses) identified during the audit and inform the audit committee when such a communication has been made.  The auditor should communicate this information to the audit committee in a timely manner and prior to the issuance of the auditor's report on internal control over financial reporting. When making this communication, it is not necessary for the auditor to repeat information about such deficiencies that has been included in previously issued written communications, whether those communications were made by the auditor, internal auditors, or others within the organization.

82.      The auditor is not required to perform procedures that are sufficient to identify all control deficiencies; rather, the auditor communicates deficiencies in internal control over financial reporting of which he or she is aware.

83.       Because the audit of internal control over financial reporting does not provide the auditor with assurance that he or she has identified all deficiencies less severe than a material weakness, the auditor should not issue a report stating that no such deficiencies were noted during the audit.

84.       When auditing internal control over financial reporting, the auditor may become aware of fraud or possible illegal acts. In such circumstances, the auditor must determine his or her responsibilities under AU sec. 316, Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit, AU sec. 317, Illegal Acts by Clients, and Section 10A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. 17/

Reporting on Internal Control

85.       The auditor's report on the audit of internal control over financial reporting must include the following elements 18/ -

  1. A title that includes the word independent ;
  2. A statement that management is responsible for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for assessing the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting;
  3. An identification of management's report on internal control;
  4. A statement that the auditor's responsibility is to express an opinion on the company's internal control over financial reporting based on his or her audit;
  5. A definition of internal control over financial reporting as stated in paragraph A5;
  6. A statement that the audit was conducted in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States);
  7. A statement that the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board require that the auditor plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects;
  8. A statement that an audit includes obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk, and performing such other procedures as the auditor considered necessary in the circumstances;
  9. A statement that the auditor believes the audit provides a reasonable basis for his or her opinion;
  10. A paragraph stating that, because of inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements and that projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate;
  11. The auditor's opinion on whether the company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of the specified date, based on the control criteria;
  12. The manual or printed signature of the auditor's firm;
  13. The city and state (or city and country, in the case of non-U.S. auditors) from which the auditor's report has been issued; and
  14. The date of the audit report.

Separate or Combined Reports

86.       The auditor may choose to issue a combined report (i.e., one report containing both an opinion on the financial statements and an opinion on internal control over financial reporting) or separate reports on the company's financial statements and on internal control over financial reporting.

87.       The following example combined report expressing an unqualified opinion on financial statements and an unqualified opinion on internal control over financial reporting illustrates the report elements described in this section.

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

[ Introductory paragraph ]

We have audited the accompanying balance sheets of W Company as of December 31, 20X8 and 20X7, and the related statements of income, stockholders' equity and comprehensive income, and cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 20X8. We also have audited W Company's internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 20X8, based on [ Identify control criteria, for example, "criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO)." ]. W Company's management is responsible for these financial statements, for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting, and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying [title of management's report]. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these financial statements and an opinion on the company's internal control over financial reporting based on our audits.

[ Scope paragraph ]

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects. Our audits of the financial statements included examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements, assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, and evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. Our audit of internal control over financial reporting included obtaining an understanding of internal control over financial reporting, assessing the risk that a material weakness exists, and testing and evaluating the design and operating effectiveness of internal control based on the assessed risk. Our audits also included performing such other procedures as we considered necessary in the circumstances. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinions.

[ Definition paragraph ]

A company's internal control over financial reporting is a process designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. A company's internal control over financial reporting includes those policies and procedures that (1) pertain to the maintenance of records that, in reasonable detail, accurately and fairly reflect the transactions and dispositions of the assets of the company; (2) provide reasonable assurance that transactions are recorded as necessary to permit preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, and that receipts and expenditures of the company are being made only in accordance with authorizations of management and directors of the company; and (3) provide reasonable assurance regarding prevention or timely detection of unauthorized acquisition, use, or disposition of the company's assets that could have a material effect on the financial statements.

[ Inherent limitations paragraph ]

Because of its inherent limitations, internal control over financial reporting may not prevent or detect misstatements. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

[ Opinion paragraph ]

In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of W Company as of December 31, 20X8 and 20X7, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 20X8 in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America. Also in our opinion, W Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 20X8, based on [ Identify control criteria, for example, "criteria established in Internal Control - Integrated Framework issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO)." ].

[ Signature ]

[ City and State or Country ]

[ Date ]

88.       If the auditor chooses to issue a separate report on internal control over financial reporting, he or she should add the following paragraph to the auditor's report on the financial statements -

We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States), W Company's internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 20X8, based on [ identify control criteria ] and our report dated [ date of report, which should be the same as the date of the report on the financial statements ] expressed [ include nature of opinion ].

The auditor also should add the following paragraph to the report on internal control over financial reporting -

We also have audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States), the [ identify financial statements ] of W Company and our report dated [ date of report, which should be the same as the date of the report on the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting ] expressed [ include nature of opinion ].

Report Date

[The following paragraph is effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2010. See PCAOB Release No. 2010-004. For audits of fiscal years beginning before December 15, 2010, click here.]

89.       The auditor should date the audit report no earlier than the date on which the auditor has obtained sufficient appropriate evidence to support the auditor's opinion. Because the auditor cannot audit internal control over financial reporting without also auditing the financial statements, the reports should be dated the same.

Material Weaknesses

90.       Paragraphs 62 through 70 describe the evaluation of deficiencies. If there are deficiencies that, individually or in combination, result in one or more material weaknesses, the auditor must express an adverse opinion on the company's internal control over financial reporting, unless there is a restriction on the scope of the engagement. 19/

91.       When expressing an adverse opinion on internal control over financial reporting because of a material weakness, the auditor's report must include -

  • The definition of a material weakness, as provided in paragraph A7.
  • A statement that a material weakness has been identified and an identification of the material weakness described in management's assessment.

Note: If the material weakness has not been included in management's assessment, the report should be modified to state that a material weakness has been identified but not included in management's assessment. Additionally, the auditor's report should include a description of the material weakness, which should provide the users of the audit report with specific information about the nature of the material weakness and its actual and potential effect on the presentation of the company's financial statements issued during the existence of the weakness. In this case, the auditor also should communicate in writing to the audit committee that the material weakness was not disclosed or identified as a material weakness in management's assessment. If the material weakness has been included in management's assessment but the auditor concludes that the disclosure of the material weakness is not fairly presented in all material respects, the auditor's report should describe this conclusion as well as the information necessary to fairly describe the material weakness.

92.       The auditor should determine the effect his or her adverse opinion on internal control has on his or her opinion on the financial statements. Additionally, the auditor should disclose whether his or her opinion on the financial statements was affected by the adverse opinion on internal control over financial reporting.

Note: If the auditor issues a separate report on internal control over financial reporting in this circumstance, the disclosure required by this paragraph may be combined with the report language described in paragraphs 88 and 91. The auditor may present the combined language either as a separate paragraph or as part of the paragraph that identifies the material weakness.

Subsequent Events

93.       Changes in internal control over financial reporting or other factors that might significantly affect internal control over financial reporting might occur subsequent to the date as of which internal control over financial reporting is being audited but before the date of the auditor's report. The auditor should inquire of management whether there were any such changes or factors and obtain written representations from management relating to such matters, as described in paragraph 75h.

94.       To obtain additional information about whether changes have occurred that might affect the effectiveness of the company's internal control over financial reporting and, therefore, the auditor's report, the auditor should inquire about and examine, for this subsequent period, the following -

  • Relevant internal audit (or similar functions, such as loan review in a financial institution) reports issued during the subsequent period,
  • Independent auditor reports (if other than the auditor's) of deficiencies in internal control,
  • Regulatory agency reports on the company's internal control over financial reporting, and
  • Information about the effectiveness of the company's internal control over financial reporting obtained through other engagements.

95.       The auditor might inquire about and examine other documents for the subsequent period. Paragraphs .01 through .09 of AU sec. 560, Subsequent Events , provide direction on subsequent events for a financial statement audit that also may be helpful to the auditor performing an audit of internal control over financial reporting.

96.       If the auditor obtains knowledge about subsequent events that materially and adversely affect the effectiveness of the company's internal control over financial reporting as of the date specified in the assessment, the auditor should issue an adverse opinion on internal control over financial reporting (and follow the direction in paragraph C2 if management's assessment states that internal control over financial reporting is effective). If the auditor is unable to determine the effect of the subsequent event on the effectiveness of the company's internal control over financial reporting, the auditor should disclaim an opinion. As described in paragraph C13, the auditor should disclaim an opinion on management's disclosures about corrective actions taken by the company after the date of management's assessment, if any.

97.       The auditor may obtain knowledge about subsequent events with respect to conditions that did not exist at the date specified in the assessment but arose subsequent to that date and before issuance of the auditor's report. If a subsequent event of this type has a material effect on the company's internal control over financial reporting, the auditor should include in his or her report an explanatory paragraph describing the event and its effects or directing the reader's attention to the event and its effects as disclosed in management's report.

98.       After the issuance of the report on internal control over financial reporting, the auditor may become aware of conditions that existed at the report date that might have affected the auditor's opinion had he or she been aware of them. The auditor's evaluation of such subsequent information is similar to the auditor's evaluation of information discovered subsequent to the date of the report on an audit of financial statements, as described in AU sec. 561, Subsequent Discovery of Facts Existing at the Date of the Auditor's Report .

1/ Terms defined in Appendix A, Definitions, are set in boldface type the first time they appear.

2/ This auditing standard supersedes Auditing Standard No. 2, An Audit of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting Performed in Conjunction with An Audit of Financial Statements, and is the standard on attestation engagements referred to in Section 404(b) of the Act. It also is the standard referred to in Section 103(a)(2)(A)(iii) of the Act.

3/See Securities Exchange Act Rules 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f), 17 C.F.R. §§ 240.13a-15(f) and 240.15d-15(f); Paragraph A5.

4/ See Item 308 of Regulation S-K, 17 C.F.R. § 229.308.

5/ See AU sec. 230, Due Professional Care in the Performance of Work, for further discussion of the concept of reasonable assurance in an audit.

6/ See AU sec. 150, Generally Accepted Auditing Standards.

7/ See Securities Exchange Act Rules 13a-15(c) and 15d-15(c), 17 C.F.R. §§ 240.13a-15(c) and 240.15d-15(c). SEC rules require management to base its evaluation of the effectiveness of the company's internal control over financial reporting on a suitable, recognized control framework (also known as control criteria) established by a body or group that followed due-process procedures, including the broad distribution of the framework for public comment. For example, the report of the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (known as the COSO report) provides such a framework, as does the report published by the Financial Reporting Council, Internal Control Revised Guidance for Directors on the Combined Code, October 2005 (known as the Turnbull Report).

8/ If no audit committee exists, all references to the audit committee in this standard apply to the entire board of directors of the company. See 15 U.S.C. §§ 78c(a)58 and 7201(a)(3).

9/ The SEC Advisory Committee on Smaller Public Companies considered a company's size with respect to compliance with the internal control reporting provisions of the Act. See Advisory Committee on Smaller Public Companies to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Final Report, at p. 5 (April 23, 2006).

[The following footnote is effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2010. See PCAOB Release No. 2010-004. For audits of fiscal years beginning before December 15, 2010, click here.]

10/ See Auditing Standard No. 12, Identifying and Assessing Risks of Material Misstatement, regarding identifying risks that may result in material misstatement due to fraud.

[The following footnote is effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2014. See PCAOB Release No. 2014-002.]

10A/See paragraphs .66–.67A of AU sec. 316, Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit.

[The following footnote is effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2010. See PCAOB Release No. 2010-004. For audits of fiscal years beginning before December 15, 2010, click here.]

11/ See Auditing Standard No. 11, Consideration of Materiality in Planning and Performing an Audit, which provides additional explanation of materiality.

[The following footnote is effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2010. See PCAOB Release No. 2010-004. For audits of fiscal years beginning before December 15, 2010, click here.]

12/ See Auditing Standard No. 15, Audit Evidence, which provides additional information on financial statement assertions.

[The following footnote is effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2010. See PCAOB Release No. 2010-004. For audits of fiscal years beginning before December 15, 2010, click here.]

13/ This is because his or her assessment of the risk that undetected misstatement would cause the financial statements to be materially misstated is unacceptably high (see paragraph 14 of Auditing Standard No. 14, Evaluating Audit Results, for further discussion about undetected misstatement) or as a means of introducing unpredictability in the procedures performed (see paragraph 61 and paragraph 5 of Auditing Standard No. 13, The Auditor's Responses to the Risks of Material Misstatement, for further discussion about predictability of auditing procedures).

14/ For the purpose of this indicator, the term "senior management" includes the principal executive and financial officers signing the company's certifications as required under Section 302 of the Act as well as any other members of senior management who play a significant role in the company's financial reporting process.

15/See Financial Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 154, Accounting Changes and Error Corrections, regarding the correction of a misstatement.

16/ See Item 308(a) of Regulations S-B and S-K, 17 C.F.R. §§ 228.308(a) and 229.308(a).

17/ See 15 U.S.C. § 78j-1.

18/See Appendix C, which provides direction on modifications to the auditor's report that are required in certain circumstances.

19/ See paragraph C3 for direction when the scope of the engagement has been limited.

[Effective pursuant to SEC Release No. 34-56152, File No. PCAOB-2007-02 (July 27, 2007)]