Do you speak Audit?- How to pass ACCA P7 exam
Based on feedback from students, one of the most difficult aspects of the ACCA P7 exam is developing an answer that will score well. Knowledge of auditing standards and accounting standards alone does not guarantee a student a good grade.
In addition to this knowledge, a P7 candidate is expected to be able to succinctly provide an answer to audit risk scenarios.
It is the ability to accurately put your point across and explain what is your suggested audit risk- that will differentiate you from other students and may be the key between a pass and a fail mark.
The main 3 pieces of advice when answering an audit risk question are as follows:
1. Be clear on what it is you are being asked to do
Audit risk is the risk that, you, as the external auditor, will provide an incorrect audit opinion on the accounts as audited. The most common way this could occur is where the auditor concludes that the accounts give a true and fair view, when in fact, undetected material misstatements remain. In the March 2017 P7 paper Q1 (a), candidates were required to “evaluate the risks of material misstatement to be considered in planning the Group Audit”. Therefore, successful candidates would firstly “identify” from the case study, issues which could give rise to material misstatements in the draft accounts being audited and secondly, explain how the issue identified could manifest itself as a material misstatement….what could be overstated/understated?? Could it be that certain disclosures as required by accounting standards and/or company law would be omitted??
2. Learn to speak Auditing
In many ways, auditing is like learning a new language. Try to use of phrases such as:
- “consider the reasonableness of the assumptions made”;
- “completeness of payables and existence of tangible non-current assets”
are all examples of the auditing “speak”. This “language” is widely used among auditors and within auditing materials. Therefore, the sooner you’ll learn how to use this more formal way of expression the better.
So, for example instead of saying “the auditor should check the invoice to see if the name of the audit client is present on the invoice“, a better response is “the auditor is to Inspect the invoice to verify that the name of the client is present on the invoice, so as to verify that the audit client has the right of control of the asset“.
The best way of increasing your ability to use auditing “speak” in exam answers is to learn and apply the various mnemonics provided such as “OAR ICE I” for 7 ways of gathering audit evidence.
The 7 ways of gathering audit evidence are:
- Analytically review
- Inspect documents
- Enquire and Inspect assets
It is highly advised to begin an audit procedure with one of these 7 verbs, as opposed to saying “check the asset”, or “ask the management”.
3. Practice past exam papers
In addition, practice past exam questions under timed conditions, and then when reviewing your answer against the ACCA solution, highlight the use of auditing “speak” terms in the model ACCA answer, and then see if your answer contains such terms….the more of these terms you begin to use, the better your chances of success.
Quite often the use of auditing “speak” is also beneficial to shorten what we meant to say. It will allow a student to concisely express a point in one or two sentences, which may otherwise take a weaker student 4/5 sentences to express, and hence use up less of the allotted time in the exam.
You can watch a video Colm prepared on this below: