AS 2201: An Audit of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting That Is Integrated with An Audit of Financial Statements

Effective Date: Fiscal years ending on or after Nov. 15, 2007
Summary Table of Contents

Introduction

.01        This standard establishes requirements and provides direction that applies when an auditor is engaged to perform an audit of management's assessment1 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

.02        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

.03        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 assurance5 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.

.04        The standards, AS 1005, Independence, AS 1010, Training and Proficiency of the Independent Auditor, and AS 1015, Due Professional Care in the Performance of Work, 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.

.05        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

.06        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.

.07        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.

.08        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

.09        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 committee8 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

.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.

.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 AS 2110.65-.69.

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. AS 2605, Consideration of the Internal Audit Function, 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 AS 2605.09 through .11 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 include12 -

  • 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 misstatementincluding a misstatement due to fraudcould 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 AS 2605.

.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 AS 2110, 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.

.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        AS 2805, 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.

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.

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 AS 2401, AS 2405, 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 includes the following elements18 -

Title

.85A        The auditor's report must include the title, "Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm."

Addressee

.85B        The auditor's report must be addressed to the shareholders and the board of directors, or equivalents for companies not organized as corporations. The auditor's report may include additional addressees.

Opinion on the Internal Control over Financial Reporting

.85C        The first section of the auditor's report on the audit of internal control over financial reporting must include the section title "Opinion on Internal Control over Financial Reporting" and the following elements-­

  1. The name of the company whose internal control over financial reporting was audited; and
  2. 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.

Basis for Opinion

.85D        The second section of the auditor's report on the audit of internal control over financial reporting must include the section title "Basis for Opinion" and the following elements:

  1. 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;
  2. An identification of management's report on internal control;
  3. 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;
  4. A statement that the auditor is a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) ("PCAOB") and is required to be independent with respect to the company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB;
  5. A statement that the audit was conducted in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB;
  6. A statement that the standards of the PCAOB 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;
  7. A statement that an audit included 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; and
  8. A statement that the auditor believes the audit provides a reasonable basis for his or her opinion. 

Definition and Limitations of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

.85E        The third section of the auditor's report on the audit of internal control over financial reporting must include the section title "Definition and Limitations of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting " and the following elements:

  1. A definition of internal control over financial reporting as stated in paragraph .A5;
  2. 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.

Signature, Location, and Date

.85F     The auditor's report must include the following elements:

  1. The signature of the auditor's firm;18A
  2. 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
  3. 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

To the shareholders and the board of directors of W Company

Opinions on the Financial Statements and Internal Control over Financial Reporting

We have audited the accompanying balance sheets of W Company (the "Company") as of December 31, 20X8 and 20X7, and the related statements of [titles of the financial statements, e.g., income, comprehensive income, stockholders' equity, and cash flows] for each of the years in the three-year period ended December 31, 20X8, and the related notes [and schedules] (collectively referred to as the "financial statements"). We also have audited the 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: (20XX) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO)."].

In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the 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, the 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: (20XX) issued by COSO."].

Basis for Opinion

The 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 the Company's financial statements and an opinion on the Company's internal control over financial reporting based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) ("PCAOB") and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.

We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audits to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud, and whether effective internal control over financial reporting was maintained in all material respects.

Our audits of the financial statements included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. 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 and Limitations of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

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.

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.

Critical Audit Matters [if applicable]

[Include critical audit matters]

[Signature]

We have served as the Company's auditor since [year].

[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 (immediately following the opinion 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) ("PCAOB"), the 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 (immediately following the opinion 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) ("PCAOB"), the [ identify financial statements ] of the 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

.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 AS 2801, 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 AS 2905, Subsequent Discovery of Facts Existing at the Date of the Auditor's Report .


Appendix A - Definitions

.A1      For purposes of this standard, the terms listed below are defined as follows -

.A2      A control objective provides a specific target against which to evaluate the effectiveness of controls. A control objective for internal control over financial reporting generally relates to a relevant assertion and states a criterion for evaluating whether the company's control procedures in a specific area provide reasonable assurance that a misstatement or omission in that relevant assertion is prevented or detected by controls on a timely basis.

.A3      A deficiency in internal control over financial reporting exists when the design or operation of a control does not allow management or employees, in the normal course of performing their assigned functions, to prevent or detect misstatements on a timely basis.

  • A deficiency in design exists when (a) a control necessary to meet the control objective is missing or (b) an existing control is not properly designed so that, even if the control operates as designed, the control objective would not be met.
  • A deficiency in operation exists when a properly designed control does not operate as designed, or when the person performing the control does not possess the necessary authority or competence to perform the control effectively.

.A4      Financial statements and related disclosures refers to a company's financial statements and notes to the financial statements as presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"). References to financial statements and related disclosures do not extend to the preparation of management's discussion and analysis or other similar financial information presented outside a company's GAAP-basis financial statements and notes.

.A5       Internal control over financial reporting is a process designed by, or under the supervision of, the company's principal executive and principal financial officers, or persons performing similar functions, and effected by the company's board of directors, management, and other personnel, to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation of financial statements for external purposes in accordance with GAAP and 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.1

Note: The auditor's procedures as part of either the audit of internal control over financial reporting or the audit of the financial statements are not part of a company's internal control over financial reporting.

Note: Internal control over financial reporting has inherent limitations. Internal control over financial reporting is a process that involves human diligence and compliance and is subject to lapses in judgment and breakdowns resulting from human failures. Internal control over financial reporting also can be circumvented by collusion or improper management override. Because of such limitations, there is a risk that material misstatements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis by internal control over financial reporting. However, these inherent limitations are known features of the financial reporting process. Therefore, it is possible to design into the process safeguards to reduce, though not eliminate, this risk.

.A6      Management's assessment is the assessment described in Item 308(a)(3) of Regulations S-B and S-K that is included in management's annual report on internal control over financial reporting.2

.A7      A material weakness is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the company's annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.

Note: There is a reasonable possibility of an event, as used in this standard,  when the likelihood of the event is either "reasonably possible" or "probable," as those terms are used in Financial Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 5, Accounting for Contingencies ("FAS 5").3

.A8      Controls over financial reporting may be preventive controls or detective controls. Effective internal control over financial reporting often includes a combination of preventive and detective controls.

  • Preventive controls have the objective of preventing errors or fraud that could result in a misstatement of the financial statements from occurring.
  • Detective controls have the objective of detecting errors or fraud that has already occurred that could result in a misstatement of the financial statements.

.A9      A relevant assertion is a financial statement assertion that has a reasonable possibility of containing a misstatement or misstatements that would cause the financial statements to be materially misstated. The determination of whether an assertion is a relevant assertion is based on inherent risk, without regard to the effect of controls.

.A10    An account or disclosure is a significant account or disclosure if there is a reasonable possibility that the account or disclosure could contain a misstatement that, individually or when aggregated with others, has a material effect on the financial statements, considering the risks of both overstatement and understatement. The determination of whether an account or disclosure is significant is based on inherent risk, without regard to the effect of controls.

.A11    A significant deficiency is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting that is less severe than a material weakness, yet important enough to merit attention by those responsible for oversight of the company's financial reporting.

Appendix B - Special Topics

Summary Table of Contents

Integration of Audits

.B1      Tests of Controls in an Audit of Internal Control. The objective of the tests of controls in an audit of internal control over financial reporting is to obtain evidence about the effectiveness of controls to support the auditor's opinion on the company's internal control over financial reporting. The auditor's opinion relates to the effectiveness of the company's internal control over financial reporting as of a point in time and taken as a whole.

.B2      To express an opinion on internal control over financial reporting as of a point in time, the auditor should obtain evidence that internal control over financial reporting has operated effectively for a sufficient period of time, which may be less than the entire period (ordinarily one year) covered by the company's financial statements. To express an opinion on internal control over financial reporting taken as a whole, the auditor must obtain evidence about the effectiveness of selected controls over all relevant assertions. This requires that the auditor test the design and operating effectiveness of controls he or she ordinarily would not test if expressing an opinion only on the financial statements.

.B3      When concluding on the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting for purposes of expressing an opinion on internal control over financial reporting, the auditor should incorporate the results of any additional tests of controls performed to achieve the objective related to expressing an opinion on the financial statements, as discussed in the following section.

.B4      Tests of Controls in an Audit of Financial Statements. To express an opinion on the financial statements, the auditor ordinarily performs tests of controls and substantive procedures. The objective of the tests of controls the auditor performs for this purpose is to assess control risk. To assess control risk for specific financial statement assertions at less than the maximum, the auditor is required to obtain evidence that the relevant controls operated effectively during the entire period upon which the auditor plans to place reliance on those controls. However, the auditor is not required to assess control risk at less than the maximum for all relevant assertions and, for a variety of reasons, the auditor may choose not to do so.

.B5      When concluding on the effectiveness of controls for the purpose of assessing control risk, the auditor also should evaluate the results of any additional tests of controls performed to achieve the objective related to expressing an opinion on the company's internal control over financial reporting, as discussed in paragraph .B2. Consideration of these results may require the auditor to alter the nature, timing, and extent of substantive procedures and to plan and perform further tests of controls, particularly in response to identified control deficiencies.

.B6      Effect of Tests of Controls on Substantive Procedures. If, during the audit of internal control over financial reporting, the auditor identifies a deficiency, he or she should determine the effect of the deficiency, if any, on the nature, timing, and extent of substantive procedures to be performed to reduce audit risk in the audit of the financial statements to an appropriately low level.

.B7      Regardless of the assessed level of control risk or the assessed risk of material misstatement in connection with the audit of the financial statements, the auditor should perform substantive procedures for all relevant assertions. Performing procedures to express an opinion on internal control over financial reporting does not diminish this requirement.

.B8      Effect of Substantive Procedures on the Auditor's Conclusions About the Operating Effectiveness of Controls. In an audit of internal control over financial reporting, the auditor should evaluate the effect of the findings of the substantive auditing procedures performed in the audit of financial statements on the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting. This evaluation should include, at a minimum -

  • The auditor's risk assessments in connection with the selection and application of substantive procedures, especially those related to fraud.
  • Findings with respect to illegal acts and related party transactions.
  • Indications of management bias in making accounting estimates and in selecting accounting principles.
  • Misstatements detected by substantive procedures. The extent of such misstatements might alter the auditor's judgment about the effectiveness of controls.

.B9      To obtain evidence about whether a selected control is effective, the control must be tested directly; the effectiveness of a control cannot be inferred from the absence of misstatements detected by substantive procedures. The absence of misstatements detected by substantive procedures, however, should inform the auditor's risk assessments in determining the testing necessary to conclude on the effectiveness of a control.

Multiple Locations Scoping Decisions

.B10    In determining the locations or business units at which to perform tests of controls, the auditor should assess the risk of material misstatement to the financial statements associated with the location or business unit and correlate the amount of audit attention devoted to the location or business unit with the degree of risk.

Note: The auditor may eliminate from further consideration locations or business units that, individually or when aggregated with others, do not present a reasonable possibility of material misstatement to the company's consolidated financial statements.

.B11    In assessing and responding to risk, the auditor should test controls over specific risks that present a reasonable possibility of material misstatement to the company's consolidated financial statements. In lower-risk locations or business units, the auditor first might evaluate whether testing entity-level controls, including controls in place to provide assurance that appropriate controls exist throughout the organization, provides the auditor with sufficient evidence.

.B12    In determining the locations or business units at which to perform tests of controls, the auditor may take into account work performed by others on behalf of management. For example, if the internal auditors' planned procedures include relevant audit work at various locations, the auditor may coordinate work with the internal auditors and reduce the number of locations or business units at which the auditor would otherwise need to perform auditing procedures.

.B13    The direction in paragraph .61 regarding special considerations for subsequent years' audits means that the auditor should vary the nature, timing, and extent of testing of controls at locations or business units from year to year.

.B14     Special Situations. The scope of the audit should include entities that are acquired on or before the date of management's assessment and operations that are accounted for as discontinued operations on the date of management's assessment. The direction in this multiple-locations discussion describes how to determine whether it is necessary to test controls at these entities or operations.

.B15    For equity method investments, the scope of the audit should include controls over the reporting in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, in the company's financial statements, of the company's portion of the investees' income or loss, the investment balance, adjustments to the income or loss and investment balance, and related disclosures. The audit ordinarily would not extend to controls at the equity method investee.

.B16    In situations in which the SEC allows management to limit its assessment of internal control over financial reporting by excluding certain entities, the auditor may limit the audit in the same manner. In these situations, the auditor's opinion would not be affected by a scope limitation. However, the auditor should include, either in an additional explanatory paragraph or as part of the Basis for Opinion section in his or her report, a disclosure similar to management's regarding the exclusion of an entity from the scope of both management's assessment and the auditor's audit of internal control over financial reporting. Additionally, the auditor should evaluate the reasonableness of management's conclusion that the situation meets the criteria of the SEC's allowed exclusion and the appropriateness of any required disclosure related to such a limitation. If the auditor believes that management's disclosure about the limitation requires modification, the auditor should follow the same communication responsibilities that are described in paragraphs .29 through .32 of AS 4105, Reviews of Interim Financial Information. If management and the audit committee do not respond appropriately, in addition to fulfilling those responsibilities, the auditor should modify his or her report on the audit of internal control over financial reporting to include an explanatory paragraph describing the reasons why the auditor believes management's disclosure requires modification.

Use of Service Organizations

.B17    AS 2601, Consideration of an Entity's Use of a Service Organization, applies to the audit of financial statements of a company that obtains services from another organization that are part of the company's information system. The auditor may apply the relevant concepts described in AS 2601 to the audit of internal control over financial reporting.

.B18    AS 2601.03 describes the situation in which a service organization's services are part of a company's information system. If the service organization's services are part of a company's information system, as described therein, then they are part of the information and communication component of the company's internal control over financial reporting. When the service organization's services are part of the company's internal control over financial reporting, the auditor should include the activities of the service organization when determining the evidence required to support his or her opinion.

.B19    AS 2601.07 through .16 describe the procedures that the auditor should perform with respect to the activities performed by the service organization. The procedures include -

  1. Obtaining an understanding of the controls at the service organization that are relevant to the entity's internal control and the controls at the user organization over the activities of the service organization, and
  2. Obtaining evidence that the controls that are relevant to the auditor's opinion are operating effectively.

.B20    Evidence that the controls that are relevant to the auditor's opinion are operating effectively may be obtained by following the procedures described in AS 2601.12. These procedures include -

  1. Obtaining a service auditor's report on controls placed in operation and tests of operating effectiveness, or a report on the application of agreed-upon procedures that describes relevant tests of controls.

    Note: The service auditor's report referred to above means a report with the service auditor's opinion on the service organization's description of the design of its controls, the tests of controls, and results of those tests performed by the service auditor, and the service auditor's opinion on whether the controls tested were operating effectively during the specified period (in other words, "reports on controls placed in operation and tests of operating effectiveness" described in AS 2601.24b). A service auditor's report that does not include tests of controls, results of the tests, and the service auditor's opinion on operating effectiveness (in other words, "reports on controls placed in operation" described in AS 2601.24a) does not provide evidence of operating effectiveness. Furthermore, if the evidence regarding operating effectiveness of controls comes from an agreed-upon procedures report rather than a service auditor's report issued pursuant to AS 2601, the auditor should evaluate whether the agreed-upon procedures report provides sufficient evidence in the same manner described in the following paragraph.

  2. Performing tests of the user organization's controls over the activities of the service organization (e.g., testing the user organization's independent re-performance of selected items processed by the service organization or testing the user organization's reconciliation of output reports with source documents).
  3. Performing tests of controls at the service organization.

.B21    If a service auditor's report on controls placed in operation and tests of operating effectiveness is available, the auditor may evaluate whether this report provides sufficient evidence to support his or her opinion. In evaluating whether such a service auditor's report provides sufficient evidence, the auditor should assess the following factors -

  • The time period covered by the tests of controls and its relation to the as-of date of management's assessment,
  • The scope of the examination and applications covered, the controls tested, and the way in which tested controls relate to the company's controls, and
  • The results of those tests of controls and the service auditor's opinion on the operating effectiveness of the controls.

Note: These factors are similar to factors the auditor would consider in determining whether the report provides sufficient evidence to support the auditor's assessed level of control risk in an audit of the financial statements, as described in AS 2601.16.

.B22    If the service auditor's report on controls placed in operation and tests of operating effectiveness contains a qualification that the stated control objectives might be achieved only if the company applies controls contemplated in the design of the system by the service organization, the auditor should evaluate whether the company is applying the necessary procedures.

.B23    In determining whether the service auditor's report provides sufficient evidence to support the auditor's opinion, the auditor should make inquiries concerning the service auditor's reputation, competence, and independence. Appropriate sources of information concerning the professional reputation of the service auditor are discussed in paragraph .10a of AS 1205, Part of the Audit Performed by Other Independent Auditors.

.B24    When a significant period of time has elapsed between the time period covered by the tests of controls in the service auditor's report and the date specified in management's assessment, additional procedures should be performed. The auditor should inquire of management to determine whether management has identified any changes in the service organization's controls subsequent to the period covered by the service auditor's report (such as changes communicated to management from the service organization, changes in personnel at the service organization with whom management interacts, changes in reports or other data received from the service organization, changes in contracts or service level agreements with the service organization, or errors identified in the service organization's processing). If management has identified such changes, the auditor should evaluate the effect of such changes on the effectiveness of the company's internal control over financial reporting. The auditor also should evaluate whether the results of other procedures he or she performed indicate that there have been changes in the controls at the service organization.

.B25    The auditor should determine whether to obtain additional evidence about the operating effectiveness of controls at the service organization based on the procedures performed by management or the auditor and the results of those procedures and on an evaluation of the following risk factors. As risk increases, the need for the auditor to obtain additional evidence increases.

  • The elapsed time between the time period covered by the tests of controls in the service auditor's report and the date specified in management's assessment,
  • The significance of the activities of the service organization,
  • Whether there are errors that have been identified in the service organization's processing, and
  • The nature and significance of any changes in the service organization's controls identified by management or the auditor.

.B26    If the auditor concludes that additional evidence about the operating effectiveness of controls at the service organization is required, the auditor's additional procedures might include -

  • Evaluating procedures performed by management and the results of those procedures.
  • Contacting the service organization, through the user organization, to obtain specific information.
  • Requesting that a service auditor be engaged to perform procedures that will supply the necessary information.
  • Visiting the service organization and performing such procedures.

.B27    The auditor should not refer to the service auditor's report when expressing an opinion on internal control over financial reporting.

Benchmarking of Automated Controls

.B28    Entirely automated application controls are generally not subject to breakdowns due to human failure. This feature allows the auditor to use a "benchmarking" strategy.

.B29    If general controls over program changes, access to programs, and computer operations are effective and continue to be tested, and if the auditor verifies that the automated application control has not changed since the auditor established a baseline (i.e., last tested the application control), the auditor may conclude that the automated application control continues to be effective without repeating the prior year's specific tests of the operation of the automated application control. The nature and extent of the evidence that the auditor should obtain to verify that the control has not changed may vary depending on the circumstances, including depending on the strength of the company's program change controls.

.B30    The consistent and effective functioning of the automated application controls may be dependent upon the related files, tables, data, and parameters. For example, an automated application for calculating interest income might be dependent on the continued integrity of a rate table used by the automated calculation.

.B31    To determine whether to use a benchmarking strategy, the auditor should assess the following risk factors. As these factors indicate lower risk, the control being evaluated might be well-suited for benchmarking. As these factors indicate increased risk, the control being evaluated is less suited for benchmarking. These factors are -

  • The extent to which the application control can be matched to a defined program within an application.
  • The extent to which the application is stable (i.e., there are few changes from period to period).
  • The availability and reliability of a report of the compilation dates of the programs placed in production. (This information may be used as evidence that controls within the program have not changed.)

.B32    Benchmarking automated application controls can be especially effective for companies using purchased software when the possibility of program changes is remote - e.g., when the vendor does not allow access or modification to the source code.

.B33    After a period of time, the length of which depends upon the circumstances, the baseline of the operation of an automated application control should be reestablished. To determine when to reestablish a baseline, the auditor should evaluate the following factors -

  • The effectiveness of the IT control environment, including controls over application and system software acquisition and maintenance, access controls and computer operations.
  • The auditor's understanding of the nature of changes, if any, on the specific programs that contain the controls.
  • The nature and timing of other related tests.
  • The consequences of errors associated with the application control that was benchmarked.
  • Whether the control is sensitive to other business factors that may have changed. For example, an automated control may have been designed with the assumption that only positive amounts will exist in a file. Such a control would no longer be effective if negative amounts (credits) begin to be posted to the account.

Appendix C - Special Reporting Situations

Summary Table of Contents

Report Modifications

.C1      The auditor should modify his or her report if any of the following conditions exist.

  1. Elements of management's annual report on internal control are incomplete or improperly presented,
  2. There is a restriction on the scope of the engagement,
  3. The auditor decides to refer to the report of other auditors as the basis, in part, for the auditor's own report,
  4. There is other information contained in management's annual report on internal control over financial reporting, or
  5. Management's annual certification pursuant to Section 302 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is misstated.

.C2      Elements of Management's Annual Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting Are Incomplete or Improperly Presented. If the auditor determines that elements of management's annual report on internal control over financial reporting are incomplete or improperly presented, the auditor should modify his or her report to include an explanatory paragraph describing the reasons for this determination. If the auditor determines that the required disclosure about a material weakness is not fairly presented in all material respects, the auditor should follow the direction in paragraph .91.

.C3      Scope Limitations. The auditor can express an opinion on the company's internal control over financial reporting only if the auditor has been able to apply the procedures necessary in the circumstances. If there are restrictions on the scope of the engagement, the auditor should withdraw from the engagement or disclaim an opinion. A disclaimer of opinion states that the auditor does not express an opinion on the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting.

.C4      When disclaiming an opinion because of a scope limitation, the auditor should state that the scope of the audit was not sufficient to warrant the expression of an opinion and, in a separate paragraph or paragraphs, the substantive reasons for the disclaimer. The auditor should not identify the procedures that were performed nor include the statements describing the characteristics of an audit of internal control over financial reporting (paragraph .85D f, g, and h); to do so might overshadow the disclaimer.

.C5      When the auditor plans to disclaim an opinion and the limited procedures performed by the auditor caused the auditor to conclude that a material weakness exists, the auditor's report also should include -

  • The definition of a material weakness, as provided in paragraph .A7.
  • A description of any material weaknesses identified in the company's internal control over financial reporting. This description should provide the users of the audit report with specific information about the nature of any material weakness and its actual and potential effect on the presentation of the company's financial statements issued during the existence of the weakness. This description also should address the requirements in paragraph .91.

.C6      The auditor may issue a report disclaiming an opinion on internal control over financial reporting as soon as the auditor concludes that a scope limitation will prevent the auditor from obtaining the reasonable assurance necessary to express an opinion. The auditor is not required to perform any additional work prior to issuing a disclaimer when the auditor concludes that he or she will not be able to obtain sufficient evidence to express an opinion.

Note: In this case, in following the direction in paragraph .89 regarding dating the auditor's report, the report date is the date that the auditor has obtained sufficient appropriate evidence to support the representations in the auditor's report.

.C7      If the auditor concludes that he or she cannot express an opinion because there has been a limitation on the scope of the audit, the auditor should communicate, in writing, to management and the audit committee that the audit of internal control over financial reporting cannot be satisfactorily completed.

.C8      Opinions Based, in Part, on the Report of Another Auditor. When another auditor has audited the financial statements and internal control over financial reporting of one or more subsidiaries, divisions, branches, or components of the company, the auditor should determine whether he or she may serve as the principal auditor and use the work and reports of another auditor as a basis, in part, for his or her opinion. AS 1205, Part of the Audit Performed by Other Independent Auditors, provides direction on the auditor's decision of whether to serve as the principal auditor of the financial statements. If the auditor decides it is appropriate to serve as the principal auditor of the financial statements, then that auditor also should be the principal auditor of the company's internal control over financial reporting. This relationship results from the requirement that an audit of the financial statements must be performed to audit internal control over financial reporting; only the principal auditor of the financial statements can be the principal auditor of internal control over financial reporting. In this circumstance, the principal auditor of the financial statements must participate sufficiently in the audit of internal control over financial reporting to provide a basis for serving as the principal auditor of internal control over financial reporting.

.C9      When serving as the principal auditor of internal control over financial reporting, the auditor should decide whether to make reference in the report on internal control over financial reporting to the audit of internal control over financial reporting performed by the other auditor. In these circumstances, the auditor's decision is based on factors analogous to those of the auditor who uses the work and reports of other independent auditors when reporting on a company's financial statements as described in AS 1205.

.C10    The decision about whether to make reference to another auditor in the report on the audit of internal control over financial reporting might differ from the corresponding decision as it relates to the audit of the financial statements. For example, the audit report on the financial statements may make reference to the audit of a significant equity investment performed by another independent auditor, but the report on internal control over financial reporting might not make a similar reference because management's assessment of internal control over financial reporting ordinarily would not extend to controls at the equity method investee.1

.C11    When the auditor decides to make reference to the report of the other auditor as a basis, in part, for his or her opinion on the company's internal control over financial reporting, the auditor should refer to the report of the other auditor when describing the scope of the audit and when expressing the opinion.

.C12    Management's Annual Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting Containing Additional Information. Management's annual report on internal control over financial reporting may contain information in addition to the elements described in paragraph .72 that are subject to the auditor's evaluation.

.C13    If management's annual report on internal control over financial reporting could reasonably be viewed by users of the report as including such additional information, the auditor should disclaim an opinion on the information.

.C14    If the auditor believes that management's additional information contains a material misstatement of fact, he or she should discuss the matter with management. If, after discussing the matter with management, the auditor concludes that a material misstatement of fact remains, the auditor should notify management and the audit committee, in writing, of the auditor's views concerning the information. AS 2405, Illegal Acts by Clients and Section 10A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 may also require the auditor to take additional action.2

Note: If management makes the types of disclosures described in paragraph .C12 outside its annual report on internal control over financial reporting and includes them elsewhere within its annual report on the company's financial statements, the auditor would not need to disclaim an opinion. However, in that situation, the auditor's responsibilities are the same as those described in this paragraph if the auditor believes that the additional information contains a material misstatement of fact.

.C15    Management's Annual Certification Pursuant to Section 302 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is Misstated. If matters come to the auditor's attention as a result of the audit of internal control over financial reporting that lead him or her to believe that modifications to the disclosures about changes in internal control over financial reporting (addressing changes in internal control over financial reporting occurring during the fourth quarter) are necessary for the annual certifications to be accurate and to comply with the requirements of Section 302 of the Act and Securities Exchange Act Rule 13a-14(a) or 15d-14(a), whichever applies,3 the auditor should follow the communication responsibilities as described in AS 4105, Reviews of Interim Financial Information, for any interim period. However, if management and the audit committee do not respond appropriately, in addition to the responsibilities described in AS 4105, the auditor should modify his or her report on the audit of internal control over financial reporting to include an explanatory paragraph describing the reasons the auditor believes management's disclosures should be modified.

Filings Under Federal Securities Statutes

.C16    AS 4101, Responsibilities Regarding Filings Under Federal Securities Statutes, describes the auditor's responsibilities when an auditor's report is included in registration statements, proxy statements, or periodic reports filed under the federal securities statutes. The auditor should apply AS 4101 with respect to the auditor's report on internal control over financial reporting included in such filings. In addition, the auditor should extend the direction in AS 4101.10 to inquire of and obtain written representations from officers and other executives responsible for financial and accounting matters about whether any events have occurred that have a material effect on the audited financial statements to matters that could have a material effect on internal control over financial reporting.

.C17    When the auditor has fulfilled these responsibilities and intends to consent to the inclusion of his or her report on internal control over financial reporting in the securities filing, the auditor's consent should clearly indicate that both the audit report on financial statements and the audit report on internal control over financial reporting (or both opinions if a combined report is issued) are included in his or her consent.

Footnotes (AS 2201 - An Audit of Internal Control Over Financial Reporting That Is Integrated with An Audit of Financial Statements):

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

2This 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.

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

5See AS 1015, Due Professional Care in the Performance of Work, for further discussion of the concept of reasonable assurance in an audit.

[6][Footnote deleted.]

7See 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).

9The 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).

10See AS 2110, Identifying and Assessing Risks of Material Misstatement, regarding identifying risks that may result in material misstatement due to fraud.

10ASee paragraphs .66-.67A of AS 2401, Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit.

11See AS 2105, Consideration of Materiality in Planning and Performing an Audit, which provides additional explanation of materiality.

12See AS 1105, Audit Evidence, which provides additional information on financial statement assertions.

13This 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 AS 2810, 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 .05 of AS 2301, The Auditor's Responses to the Risks of Material Misstatement, for further discussion about predictability of auditing procedures).

14For 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.

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

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

17See 15 U.S.C. § 78j-1.

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

18A See Regulation S-X Rule 2-02(a).

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


Footnotes (Appendix A - Definitions):

1See Securities Exchange Act Rules 13a-15(f) and 15d-15(f), 17 C.F.R. §§ 240.13a-15(f) and 240.15d-15(f).

2See 17 C.F.R.  §§ 228.308(a)(3) and 229.308(a)(3).

3See FAS 5, paragraph 3.


Footnotes (Appendix C - Special Reporting Situations):

1See paragraph .B15, for further discussion of the evaluation of the controls over financial reporting for an equity method investment.

2See 15 U.S.C. § 78j-1.

3See 17 C.F.R. §§ 240.13a-14(a) and 240.15d-14(a).