[The following paragraph was effective for audits of financial statements for periods beginning on or after December 15, 2002. It was amended, effective for audits of fiscal years beginning on or after December 15, 2010. See PCAOB Release No. 2010-004.

Return to the current version.]


The following are additional examples of responses to identified risks of material misstatements relating to fraudulent financial reporting:

  • Revenue recognition. Because revenue recognition is dependent on the particular facts and circumstances, as well as accounting principles and practices that can vary by industry, the auditor ordinarily will develop auditing procedures based on the auditor's understanding of the entity and its environment, including the composition of revenues, specific attributes of the revenue transactions, and unique industry considerations. If there is an identified risk of material misstatement due to fraud that involves improper revenue recognition, the auditor also may want to consider:
    • Performing substantive analytical procedures relating to revenue using disaggregated data, for example, comparing revenue reported by month and by product line or business segment during the current reporting period with comparable prior periods. Computer-assisted audit techniques may be useful in identifying unusual or unexpected revenue relationships or transactions.
    • Confirming with customers certain relevant contract terms and the absence of side agreements, because the appropriate accounting often is influenced by such terms or agreements. fn 21 For example, acceptance criteria, delivery and payment terms, the absence of future or continuing vendor obligations, the right to return the product, guaranteed resale amounts, and cancellation or refund provisions often are relevant in such circumstances.
    • Inquiring of the entity's sales and marketing personnel or in-house legal counsel regarding sales or shipments near the end of the period and their knowledge of any unusual terms or conditions associated with these transactions.
    • Being physically present at one or more locations at period end to observe goods being shipped or being readied for shipment (or returns awaiting processing) and performing other appropriate sales and inventory cutoff procedures.
    • For those situations for which revenue transactions are electronically initiated, processed, and recorded, testing controls to determine whether they provide assurance that recorded revenue transactions occurred and are properly recorded.
  • Inventory quantities. If there is an identified risk of material misstatement due to fraud that affects inventory quantities, examining the entity's inventory records may help identify locations or items that require specific attention during or after the physical inventory count. Such a review may lead to a decision to observe inventory counts at certain locations on an unannounced basis (see paragraph .53) or to conduct inventory counts at all locations on the same date. In addition, it may be appropriate for inventory counts to be conducted at or near the end of the reporting period to minimize the risk of inappropriate manipulation during the period between the count and the end of the reporting period.

    It also may be appropriate for the auditor to perform additional procedures during the observation of the count, for example, more rigorously examining the contents of boxed items, the manner in which the goods are stacked (for example, hollow squares) or labeled, and the quality (that is, purity, grade, or concentration) of liquid substances such as perfumes or specialty chemicals. Using the work of a specialist may be helpful in this regard. fn 22 Furthermore, additional testing of count sheets, tags, or other records, or the retention of copies of these records, may be warranted to minimize the risk of subsequent alteration or inappropriate compilation.

    Following the physical inventory count, the auditor may want to employ additional procedures directed at the quantities included in the priced out inventories to further test the reasonableness of the quantities counted—for example, comparison of quantities for the current period with prior periods by class or category of inventory, location or other criteria, or comparison of quantities counted with perpetual records. The auditor also may consider using computer-assisted audit techniques to further test the compilation of the physical inventory counts—for example, sorting by tag number to test tag controls or by item serial number to test the possibility of item omission or duplication.

  • Management estimates. The auditor may identify a risk of material misstatement due to fraud involving the development of management estimates. This risk may affect a number of accounts and assertions, including asset valuation, estimates relating to specific transactions (such as acquisitions, restructurings, or disposals of a segment of the business), and other significant accrued liabilities (such as pension and other postretirement benefit obligations, or environmental remediation liabilities). The risk may also relate to significant changes in assumptions relating to recurring estimates. As indicated in section 342, Auditing Accounting Estimates, estimates are based on subjective as well as objective factors and there is a potential for bias in the subjective factors, even when management's estimation process involves competent personnel using relevant and reliable data.

    In addressing an identified risk of material misstatement due to fraud involving accounting estimates, the auditor may want to supplement the audit evidence otherwise obtained (see section 342.09 through .14). In certain circumstances (for example, evaluating the reasonableness of management's estimate of the fair value of a derivative), it may be appropriate to engage a specialist or develop an independent estimate for comparison to management's estimate. Information gathered about the entity and its environment may help the auditor evaluate the reasonableness of such management estimates and underlying judgments and assumptions.

    A retrospective review of similar management judgments and assumptions applied in prior periods (see paragraphs .63 through .65) may also provide insight about the reasonableness of judgments and assumptions supporting management estimates.