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The auditor's response to the assessment of the risks of material misstatement due to fraud involves the application of professional skepticism in gathering and evaluating audit evidence. As noted in paragraph .13, professional skepticism is an attitude that includes a critical assessment of the competency and sufficiency of audit evidence. Examples of the application of professional skepticism in response to the risks of material misstatement due to fraud are (a) designing additional or different auditing procedures to obtain more reliable evidence in support of specified financial statement account balances, classes of transactions, and related assertions, and (b) obtaining additional corroboration of management's explanations or representations concerning material matters, such as through third-party confirmation, the use of a specialist, analytical procedures, examination of documentation from independent sources, or inquiries of others within or outside the entity.
The auditor's response to the assessment of the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements due to fraud is influenced by the nature and significance of the risks identified as being present (paragraphs .35 through .42) and the entity's programs and controls that address these identified risks (paragraphs .43 through .45).
The auditor responds to risks of material misstatement due to fraud in the following three ways:
- A response that has an overall effect on how the audit is conducted—that is, a response involving more general considerations apart from the specific procedures otherwise planned (see paragraph .50).
- A response to identified risks involving the nature, timing, and extent of the auditing procedures to be performed (see paragraphs .51 through .56).
- A response involving the performance of certain procedures to further address the risk of material misstatement due to fraud involving management override of controls, given the unpredictable ways in which such override could occur (see paragraphs .57 through .67).
The auditor may conclude that it would not be practicable to design auditing procedures that sufficiently address the risks of material misstatement due to fraud. In that case, withdrawal from the engagement with communication to the appropriate parties may be an appropriate course of action (see paragraph .78).
Judgments about the risk of material misstatement due to fraud have an overall effect on how the audit is conducted in the following ways:
- Assignment of personnel and supervision. The knowledge, skill, and ability of personnel assigned significant engagement responsibilities should be commensurate with the auditor's assessment of the risks of material misstatement due to fraud for the engagement (see section 210, Training and Proficiency of the Independent Auditor, paragraph .03). For example, the auditor may respond to an identified risk of material misstatement due to fraud by assigning additional persons with specialized skill and knowledge, such as forensic and information technology (IT) specialists, or by assigning more experienced personnel to the engagement. In addition, the extent of supervision should reflect the risks of material misstatement due to fraud (see section 311.11).
- Accounting principles. The auditor should consider management's selection and application of significant accounting principles, particularly those related to subjective measurements and complex transactions. In this respect, the auditor may have a greater concern about whether the accounting principles selected and policies adopted are being applied in an inappropriate manner to create a material misstatement of the financial statements. In developing judgments about the quality of such principles (see section 380, Communication With Audit Committees, paragraph .11), the auditor should consider whether their collective application indicates a bias that may create such a material misstatement of the financial statements.
- Predictability of auditing procedures. The auditor should incorporate an element of unpredictability in the selection from year to year of auditing procedures to be performed—for example, performing substantive tests of selected account balances and assertions not otherwise tested due to their materiality or risk, adjusting the timing of testing from that otherwise expected, using differing sampling methods, and performing procedures at different locations or at locations on an unannounced basis.