What’s a Control Checklist?

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An audit checklist is a document created during the planning phase of an audit, listing tasks to be completed. It includes five sections and is used for audits ranging from financial to security. The checklist is updated as documentation is provided to the senior auditor and is included in the audit file. The audit opinion is issued at the conclusion of the audit.

The term audit checklist is used to describe a document created during the audit planning phase. This document is essentially a list of tasks that must be completed as part of the audit. Most audit software programs have a list of standard audit checklist templates that can be used for different types of audits. This document is created and maintained by the Senior Auditor, who is responsible for the overall audit.

There are five sections to each audit checklist: Scope, Evidence Gathering, Audit Testing, Findings Analysis and Conclusions. These sections are fairly static and are used for audits ranging from financial to security. The process used to populate the actual activities included in each section varies, based on the scope of the audit, the tools used to manage the audit, and the experience of the audit personnel.

The scope section of the checklist includes the initial meeting with the client, identification of known issues, focus of the audit, overall timeline, and required outcome. In some audits, resource allocation is completed at this stage of the checklist. This may be necessary in a large accounting firm in order to plan staff availability and assign work.

Evidence collection is further broken down into each individual section or module that is audited. In a financial review, this could include debts, banking assets, receivables and inventory. In a safety audit, this might include fire preparation, emergency exits, evacuation procedures, and first aid. The methods used to gather evidence are not listed in the checklist but should be included in each individual section.

The audit tests include a list of all the same sections from the evidence collection area but with a list of the different tests to run. Tests are selected based on audit scope, risk assessment, and industry standards. The audit checklist itself is included in the audit file and will typically be reviewed by a senior partner for completeness.

The results of the audit trials and tests are organized by section and the audit checklist is updated once the documentation is provided to the senior auditor. Review the documentation provided and note any problems or concerns in the checklist. These items must be addressed before the end of the audit.

The conclusion of any audit is the issuance of the audit opinion. This report describes the methods used, together with the results and conclusions. Depending on your audience, the entire audit binder may be presented to the client for review. The audit checklist is provided in the first section, just like a table of contents, and lists all items included in the binder and their location.

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