Audit Risk Model Essay Research Paper This

Audit Risk Model Essay, Research Paper

This is defined in AUS

402 as ?the susceptibility of an account balance ? to misstatement that

could be material ? assuming there were no related internal controls? (AUS

402.09). Estimating the inherent risk (IR) for each account balance or class of

transactions requires the auditor to take into account such factors as the level

of complexity involved in determining the ?correct? balance of an account,

the complexity of transactions involving the particular account(s) and the

?portability? of the assets involved. The estimation of IR is done as though

no internal controls exist ? it looks only at the nature of the account being

evaluated. Control Risk AUS 402 defines this as ?the risk that misstatements

that could occur in an account balance ? that could be material ? will not

be prevented or detected on a timely basis by the internal control structure?

(AUS 402.06). The evaluation of the level of control risk (CR) requires the

auditor to have a thorough understanding of the internal control structure that

is in place, and practiced (not necessarily the same thing) within the

organisation to be studied. Elements such as the segregation of duties, the

existence of ?management overrides?, and the level of formalised policies

and procedures in use are among the factors to be considered. Audit Risk Defined

in AUS 402 as ?the risk that the auditor gives an inappropriate audit opinion

when the financial report is materially misstated.? (AUS 402.03) The level

that is set as the acceptable audit risk (AR) reflects the degree of certainty

that the auditor and audit subject wish to achieve. An audit opinion can never

be a guarantee (AR = 0), even if every transaction during the year was tested,

due, at least in part, to the interpretive nature of many of the accounting

decisions involved. Detection Risk The final part of the risk model outlined in

AUS 402 is defined as ?the risk that an auditor?s substantive procedures

will not detect a misstatement?? (AUS 402.07) This risk relates to the

volume, effectiveness and sufficiency of the audit testing and investigation

undertaken. Both IR and CR are related to the probability that a particular

balance will contain an error, either accidental or fraudulent, while detection

risk (DR) is the probability that the auditor will not detect the error (Graham,

1985, p.15). The audit risk model is ?a joint probability statement of

independent events? (Wade, 1996) which attempts to combine these probabilities

and give an overall ?chance? of a misstatement existing (IR * CR) and

remaining undetected (* DR) ? leading to the auditor giving an inappropriate

audit opinion (AR). B) Armidale Pty Ltd ? Year 1 Inherent & Control Risk

Levels In the first year of an engagement the auditor will have gained only a

limited knowledge of the client and their practices. Faced with a poor internal

control structure the auditor may question the level of management experience

and knowledge, which AUS 402.14(b) suggests may be an indicator of high inherent

risk. This, combined with the newness of the engagement, would be sufficient

cause to set IR at a high level at the financial report level, and for most, if

not all, of the assertions below that. AUS 402.32 & AUS 402.34 mandate the

setting of control risk to high ?unless the auditor is able to identify

internal controls ? likely to prevent or detect and correct a material

misstatement? (AUS 402.32(a)). Given the conclusion of the auditor that such a

control structure does not exist within Armidale Pty Ltd they would have no

option but to set CR as high ? which is a logical choice given our previous

definition of CR. Detection Risk & Evidence Accumulation Assuming that the

auditor wishes to achieve a low level of Audit Risk, especially given the

newness of the engagement and the lack of an effective control structure we can,

by restating the audit risk model as DR = AR / (IR x CR) determine what the

level of detection risk must be set at to achieve the desired level of AR. If,

for example, an AR of 5% is desired with both IR & CR set to 100% the DR

comes out to be: DR = .05 / ( 1 x 1) DR = .05 (5%) This means that the auditor

can only accept a 5% probability that their substantive procedures fail to

detect any material misstatements. Achieving this level of assurance will

require the gathering of a large amount of evidence ? large samples will need

to be carefully tested and examined across most assertions. As the accumulation

of evidence is, due to the time and resources required, one of the more

expensive components of an audit the cost of running an audit with high CR &

IR ratings will be greater than ?normal?. The auditor must balance the costs

and fees of this initial audit against the long term relationship with this new

client ? as well as their local competitors. C) Armidale Pty Ltd ? Year 3

Setting Audit Risk High With more knowledge and exposure to the client and their

environment the auditor could choose to set the audit risk to a higher level

when, for example, there are few external users of the financial statements

(AFM312, 1999). It can also be set higher when control risk is low due to the

presence of a strong internal control structure and inherent risk is also

assessed as low. IR can be set lower based on the auditors judgement on such

factors as the stability of the company and the environment it operates in, the

level of management expertise, and the complexity and nature of transactions and

accounts involved. What is a ?low? level of IR & CR Issuing an

inappropriate audit opinion can be expensive for an auditor, especially in our

increasingly litigious society and with courts having a fairly wide definition

of an auditor?s duty of care. No system of internal controls can guarantee

100% detection of material misstatement ? mistakes, whether accidental or

fraudulent, will occur and some will escape detection, again either by deception

or an oversight. Adopting a minimum level of CR of around 30% allows for this

? in effect the auditor says that they believe the internal controls are

sufficient to ensure that a minimum of 70% of misstatements will be detected

and/or corrected. Inherent risk is, by definition, evaluated as though no

internal control system is in place. While it can be set lower as suggested in

the previous section, the relationship between DR, AR, CR & IR as expressed

in the model means that setting it to a lower value increases the allowable

detection risk to achieve a desired level of audit risk. For a 5% AR with CR set

to 30% and IR to 80% we get a DR value of: DR = 0.05 / (0.3 * 0.8) DR = 0.21 If

we lower IR to 30% DR becomes 0.56 ? our substantive procedures now need to be

less than 50% effective at detecting misstatements because we ?trust? the

client and their systems. Increasing the allowable level of DR could, for

example, lead to a less thorough audit process on ?old & trusted?

clients. D) The Audit Risk Model in Practice Is the audit risk model as outlined

in AUS 402 a useful tool for helping to plan audit evidence requirements in

practice? Much of the documentation and discussion relating to the assessment of

the various risk elements involved in the model addresses the issue at the

individual account balance or transaction class level. An area of concern

(AFM312, 1999; Lea et al, 1992; Wade, 1996) is the link between these many

individual assessments and an ?overall? risk rating at the financial

statement level. As the model uses various independent probabilities it is not

possible to simply ?sum together? the assessment for individual areas. There

have been suggestions of methodologies for providing overall aggregation of

assertion level risk assessments (Lea et al, 1992) however these have not been

included in any of the current Auditing standards. This ?linkage? problem

limits the value of the model to an auditor as the amount of work required to

derive all of the estimates that AUS 402 suggests could be viewed as excessive

and requiring substantial amounts of duplication of effort. This limitation

appears to have led to the model being largely ignored, or at least

circumvented. Studies such as those by Mock and Wright (1999) have investigated

the effect of different levels of assessed risk on the design of actual audit

programs. These studies have found that, in the majority of cases, auditors

utilise a ?standard? set of substantive procedures for all engagements,

regardless of variations in risk factors. Others such as Fitzsimons (1992) and

Jacoby (1995) found that both inherent and control risk are, particularly for

small to medium sized businesses, consistently set to 100%, even with continuing

engagements ? reinforcing the use of a ?standard? test plan. Reliance on

standard plans may give the auditor a sense of security, whether justified or

not, as they have built a level of confidence in the results and can easily

compare this year to last year. Performing less substantive testing than

?normal? may open the auditor to claims of negligence if a material

misstatement escapes detection and a user of the audited statements suffers

damage as a result. The studies assert that the auditor therefore tends to be

conservative and maintain a heavy reliance on substantive testing. If both IR

& CR are automatically set at 100% for all clients, and the auditor relies

on achieving a 5% overall AR, detection risk must, according to the model, also

be set to 5%. Detection risk is made up of two components, sampling risk, and

non-sampling risk. Sampling risk arises from the selection of samples within an

overall population of transactions and accounts. If the samples selected do not

accurately reflect the population the testing may not capture a misstatement.

Sampling risk can be countered by increasing the proportion of the overall

population being tested. Accumulation of evidence, testing the sample, is one of

the high cost areas of an audit and decreasing the sampling risk can, therefore,

be a high cost exercise (Arens et al, 1987). Non-sampling risk derives from the

selection and application of the actual audit procedures to the selected

samples. Inappropriate or ineffective procedures may return misleading

information and lead to incorrect evaluation of results. The audit risk model

assumes that non-sampling risk is negligible and that detection risk is largely

controllable through sample size manipulation. While it is contended by, for

example, Gul et al (1995) that ?this risk can be reduced to a low level

through effective training, planning and supervision? the use of

?standard? test plans for all clients could lead to ?blind rote?

application of procedures without any real understanding of the purpose or

relevance of a particular test. In these conditions a series of small

non-sampling errors could rapidly accumulate and reduce the value of the

substantive testing. Where only a small allowance for error exists, due to the

reluctance of the auditor to place more emphasis on the internal control

systems, the desired level of AR could become unachievable. The audit risk model

outlined in AUS 402 as well as many of the overseas auditing standards would

seem to be useful for planning the level of testing required for specific

accounts or account classes. This is particularly so where the auditor believes

internal control systems are in place and effective (low CR) and where the

inherent risk is also medium to low. It appears, however, that, for many

reasons, the auditing fraternity has not rushed to utilise the model in

developing audit plans ? preferring to rely on standard series of tests ?

although Mock & Wright (1999) did identify some movement towards increasing

use of the model for planning purposes.


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