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magine that you are a senior auditor and your firm has been selected to audit a medium-sized company with a single location.

  • Provide an overview of the company.
  • Describe the four phases of an audit and discuss the key factors that would help you determine how to plan the audit for this company. Provide specific examples.
  • Determine both the relationship of risks in the planning of the audit and factors that influence those risks.
  • Speculate on which type of risk creates the most uncertainty for the auditor and recommend at least two ways to plan the audit to mitigate those risks. Provide specific examples.


Many companies choose to engage with internal and external auditors in the preparation of their year-end financial statements. However, the depth of the auditor’s investigation may vary depending on the type of engagement and the assertion level required. In a full audit engagement, the auditor conducts a complete and thorough investigation of the financial statements, including verifications of income sources and operating expenses. For example, the auditor may compare reported account receivables with receipts from actual customer orders. At the end of the engagement, the auditor will provide an opinion on the accuracy of the financial statements. A full audit engagement also provides investors, regulators, and other stakeholders with confidence in a corporation’s financial position. In a review engagement, an auditor only conducts limited examinations to ensure the plausibility of the financial statements. In contrast with an audit, the review engagement only assures that the financial statements are fairly stated, and no further examinations are conducted to verify the accuracy of the statements. Therefore, a review engagement does not provide the same level of confidence in the accuracy of the financial reporting relative to an audit. In a notice-to-reader engagement, the role of the auditor is solely to help a company compile its financial information into presentable financial statements. No further examinations are performed, and no opinions are expressed on the accuracy of the financial reporting. Notice to reader engagements is typically only utilized by small corporations without any obligations to external stakeholders. An audit can be an unpleasant surprise, or it can be a welcome opportunity to get your organization’s affairs in order. While some audits – such as those performed by the IRS – come as a surprise, some companies hire independent outside auditors to conduct a planned audit. Regardless of the kind of audit in which a company is involved, the auditor will likely use the same four phases to perform the audit.

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