Client acceptance or continuance audit

Client acceptance or continuance audit

Client acceptance or continuance audit

Steps before the acceptance of an audit client 

Client Acceptance or Continuance– Need to Know when to say no or yes. Asking the right questions from the client while considering new clients or continuance of existing clients, is a key first step for establishing a quality audit and relationship between the auditor and client.

Outgoing Auditor, Professional Etiquette Letter 

The auditor should communicate with the outgoing auditor, and the client to assess if there are any ethical or professional reasons why they should not continue the appointment.

They should obtain permission from the client’s management to contact the outgoing auditor, if the client denies the permission, then the engagement should be refused. The previous auditor must obtain permission from the client’s management to respond to the new auditor. if not given, then the auditor should refuse the engagement.

Outgoing Auditor, Professional Etiquette Letter
Outgoing Auditor, Professional Etiquette Letter

Client-related issues 

2. Reputation and integrity of the client’s management assessed- If necessary, the firm may want to obtain references if they do not formally know the directors

  1. Formalities relating to the removal of outgoing auditor fulfilled

3. Consider the level of risk attached to the audit and whether this is acceptable to the firm. As part of this, they should consider whether the expected audit fee is adequate in relation to the risk of auditing the client screening 

The purpose of client screening procedures is to determine whether the prospective client is suitable for the audit firm or not. The firm needs to evaluate the potential risk to the firm of acceptance.

When a client is considered to represent a high audit risk to the firm, the firm should carefully consider the implications arising should it fail in meeting its objective of giving an honest audit opinion.

If the firm is not confident that the benefit to be obtained from accepting the appointment outweighs the potential risks (including the financial and repetitional risk of being sued), then the firm should decline the appointment. Factors to consider: –

The state of the economic sector in which the client operates (a depressed sector may indicate risk).
– The client’s previous audit history (frequent changes of auditors, and/or qualified reports, are obviously bad news). –

The experience and qualifications of the company’s management and their attitude towards controls. – The current operating and financial situation of the company. – Directors’ understanding of External Auditor’s role and their own responsibilities–

The accounting policies used– Evidence of client involvement in fraudulent or illegal activities. – Management permission or refusal to allow auditors to examine significant documents, such as the minutes of directors’ meetings.

Practitioner-related issues (Audit firm) 

1. Any issues which might arise could threaten compliance with ACCA’s Code of Ethics and Conduct or any local law, including independence and conflict of interest with existing clients.

If issues come, then their significance must be considered.

2. Whether they are competent to perform the work and whether they would have appropriate resources (especially human resources and time!) available, as well as any special skills or knowledge required for the audit

Read More: Threats to auditor’s independence

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