Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
The Role and Practice of Auditing
Academic Year
Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 18 x 2 hour lectures
Seminars / Tutorials 8 x 1 hour seminars
Lecture 18 x 1 hour help classes


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 3 Hours   Unseen written examination  80%
Semester Assessment 2,000 word report  20%
Supplementary Exam 3 Hours   Unseen written examination  Repeat failed element  80%
Supplementary Assessment 2,000 word report  Repeat failed elements  20%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Analyse the development and theoretical basis of modern auditing and assurance with reference to both private and public sectors.
2. Critically analyse the evolving legal, regulatory, professional and social contexts of auditing, and the responsibilities these place on auditors.
3. Examine the interaction between external audit and systems of governance, internal control and internal audit.
4. Explain the audit process and the concepts and methodologies that it embodies.
5. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of practices providing audit evidence and supporting the expression of an audit opinion.
6. Critically appraise contemporary developments and issues in the practice and regulation of audit.

Explain how the conclusions from audit work are reflected in different types of audit report, explaining the elements of each type of report.


This elective module contributes to the contextual, conceptual and applied knowledge base specified in the QAA 2007 Benchmark Statement for degree schemes in Accounting. It introduces undergraduates to one of the main pillars of the accounting profession, and is designed to achieve further accreditation from professional accountancy bodies, specifically the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales; the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

Insofar as a rationale is required for continuing to teach auditing at all, it is as follows:

As economic and social life has become more complex, there has been a growth in the demand for transparency and accountability in a number of areas. Auditing in its most general sense is an important mechanism for addressing these demands. Historically, financial auditing of some kind has existed wherever economic resources have been entrusted to third parties. Today it has evolved into a significant tool for regulating economic activity in both the private and the public sector, and at entity and broader levels.

Financial auditing in the private sector takes place at the level of the client entities (PLCs etc) but at another level underpins the credibility of the financial infrastructure itself, the financial markets. High-profile failings in private sector accounting and auditing in North America and Europe have highlighted both the importance of audit within the context of corporate governance and also its strengths and weaknesses. As a result, an interest in the practices and context of auditing is far from being confined to the auditing firms and profession: regulators, legislators, company directors, analysts, lenders and shareholders all have direct interests in effective audit.

Audit, including forms of audit beyond financial audit, has also become increasingly important in the public sector. Here financial audit often meets value-for-money or performance audits, raising issues about the extension of the role of audit and potential tensions between the accountability and managerial functions of these more broadly defined audit functions.

Brief description

This module examines the role and practice of audit in both private and public sectors, in the context of modes of regulation and the dominant corporate governance framework. It provides an overview of audit practice, relevant to those interested in a career in auditing or accounting, while the contemporary issues it addresses are of interest to a wider spectrum of professionals and others using audited information.


The following broad areas will be covered:

Audit framework and regulation
  • The nature of audit and other assurance engagements
  • Statutory and public sector audits
  • The audit regulatory environment, including auditing standards and corporate governance
  • Auditing Practices Board (APB) ethical standards for auditors
  • Other codes of ethics and conduct (e.g., ACCA'r code)
Internal audit
  • Internal audit and corporate governance
  • The interface between the external auditor and the internal auditor
  • The internal audit function and its limitations
  • Outsourcing the internal audit function
  • Other internal audit assignments (VFM, IT audits, etc.)
Planning an audit and risk assessment
  • Scope and general principles
  • Assessing the risks of material misstatement
  • Understanding the entity and its environment
  • Materiality, fraud, laws and regulations
  • Performing analytical procedures
  • Audit planning
  • Audit documentation
Internal Control
  • Understanding the internal control system
  • Auditor'r reliance on the internal control system
  • Transaction cycles and tests of controls
  • The components of internal control environment
  • Evaluation of the internal control system
  • Internal control report
Obtaining audit evidence
  • Understanding and use of assertions by auditors
  • Performing audit procedures
  • Substantive procedures on specific items of FS
  • Transactional testing using audit sampling techniques
  • Computer Assisted audit techniques
  • The work of experts in audit
Audit reporting
  • Types of audit reports
  • Management reports/ or letters of weakness
  • Other audit reports i.e. internal audit reports
  • Review
  • Exam revision and coaching

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Evaluation of numerical problems in lecture examples and appropriate examination questions.
Communication Applied in seminar class discussion.
Improving own Learning and Performance In preparation for, attending and participating and reflecting on seminar classes. Preparing and producing an assignment and preparing for assessment in examination
Information Technology Appropriate accessing of electronic and internet materials and use of word-processing skills in assignment.
Personal Development and Career planning Preparation for seminar tasks will encourage initiative, independence and self-awareness.
Problem solving Scenario-based problems treated in lectures and applied in seminars, assignment and examination.
Research skills Obtaining, selecting, assimilating information from research literature, professional and regulatory sources for use in seminars, assignment preparation and examination.
Subject Specific Skills Skills relevant to the practice of a regulated profession specifically interpretation of international auditing standards and practice notes (as applicable to the UK and Ireland), and UK Ethical Standards. Studying auditing engenders a focus on evidence and the meaning of professionalism, ethics and independence that is relevant to other professional settings.
Team work Group work in preparation for and during seminars.

Reading List

Recommended Text
Gray, I and Manson, S (2011) The Audit Process Available for purchase as an ebook at 5th Edition Cengage Learning EMEA Primo search Porter, B., Simon, J. and D Hatherly (2008) Principles of External Auditing 3rd Edition Wiley. HF 5667.P8 Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6