The Review of Audit Working Papers
BY E. ROBERT BILLINGS Partner, Executive Office
Presented before the Alpha Omicron Chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, Michigan State University, East Lansing — May 1959
ONE of the more important duties of the public accountant is the review of the working papers prepared in the performance of professional engagements. In this connection the term "working papers" is used in the broad sense and would include not only all of the working paper analyses prepared to support the verification of the various accounting and other records under examination, but would include also the rough drafts of audit reports, special reports such as suggestion letters and reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and Federal and State income tax returns. Since the review of working papers results in the expenditure of much time and effort on the part of public accountants, the purpose of my remarks
tonight is to consider the reasons why such review is necessary,
and to discuss briefly the duties and responsibilities that the various members of the staff of a public accounting firm assume in the review procedure and the methods to be followed in performing such review.
EDUCATION, TRAINING, AND EXPERIENCE DIFFERENCES NECESSITATE REVIEW
On all engagements except the very smallest, where all the work can be done by one accountant, there will be two or more men assigned.
In such cases one accountant will be the "senior" or "in-charge" accountant on the engagement, responsible for the adequate performance thereof, and the remaining accountant or accountants will work as his assistants, performing such duties as the in-charge accountant instructs them to perform or delegates to them. The in-charge accountant, of course, will be a man of requisite intelligence and educational background and with sufficient training and experience
in field work to enable him to perform, with such advice and consultation as he from time to time may require from his supervisor on the engagement, an adequate examination. However, the other accountants on the engagement, the assistants to the in-charge accountant,
will not have the same degree of education, training, and experience as the in-charge accountant.