Audit working papers

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Audit working papers are the documents which record all audit evidence obtained during financial statements auditing, internal management auditing, information systems auditing, and investigations. Audit working papers are used to support the audit work done in order to provide the assurance that the audit was performed in accordance with the relevant auditing standards. They show the audit was:

  • Properly planned;
  • Carried out properly
  • There was adequate supervision;
  • That the appropriate review was undertaken; & finally and most importantly;
  • That the evidence is sufficient and appropriate to support the audit opinion.

The Institute of Internal Auditors, a global professional audit standards body, has issued practice advisory 2330-1 stating the goals of audit working papers are to:[1]

  • Document the planning, performance, and review of audit work;
  • Provide the principal support for audit communication such as observations, conclusions, and the final report;
  • Facilitate third-party reviews and re-performance requirements; and
  • Provide a basis for evaluating the internal audit activity’s quality control program.

Audit working papers are the property of the auditor. In order to keep professional ethic, it cannot discover to third party without consent of the client unless limited specified situations mentioned in ISA 230 Documentation and required by law, the examples are court order, for public interest and so on.

The forms of documentation may be flowchart, manual, narrative note, checklist or questionnaire.

Proper features or purpose of working papers[edit]

  • Reviewed by auditors with supervisors noted.
  • Signed, dated and approved by relevant level of audit staff with sufficient cross reference.
  • With evidence of effective audit planning, work done, sufficient and quality evidence.
  • Outstanding matters are cleared in due course.

There are a number of companies who offer electronic working paper tools for accountants. The leading providers include: ACL, Wolters Kluwer, CaseWare, Thomson, Data Prime Solutions, WorkPapers.Pro and Saltlake Infosolutions. Their products are ACL GRC, TeamMate, CaseWare Working Papers, Engagement CS, Draftworx, WorkPapers and APEX Audit System respectively.

Audit Working Paper Format 1. The diversity of audit assignment prevents the establishment of a single system or design of working papers to be used. Therefore, a uniform working paper format may not be used but work papers for functional areas such as cash receipts should display conformity in various types of audits. 2. Work papers may be in the form of paper, tapes, disks, diskettes, films, etc. There should be backup copies of electronically generated working papers. The backup copies should not be stored with the original copies.


  1. ^ "Producing Quality Workpapers". IIA.

The audit working paper are divided into two parts.the first group consist of current file and 2nd group contains permanent file. the materiel relating to current year only is placed in current file.the data to be used for a number of years placed in current file.the auditor can rely on the facts and figures recorded in permanent files.