Module Identifier AC31720  
Academic Year 2006/2007  
Co-ordinator Professor David R Gwilliam  
Semester Semester 2 (Taught over 2 semesters)  
Pre-Requisite AC10120 or AC11020  
Course delivery Lecture   20 Hours.  
  Seminars / Tutorials   6 Hours.  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam3 Hours set in Semester 275%
Semester Assessment 2500-3000 word essay set in Semester 125%
Supplementary Exam3 Hours  100%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the theoretical basis of modern auditing, of its principles and practical methodologies and of how it is evolving.

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the legal, professional and social environment of, and of the main professional institutions involved in, auditing.

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the interaction between external audit and systems of internal control and internal audit within commercial entities.

Demonstrate knowledge of the regulatory framework within which audit takes place and a critical understanding of the current problems facing auditing and those responsible for its regulation.

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the role of audit in the public sector in the UK.

Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the evolving nature of audit, the various types of assurance service, the development of environmental and social reporting and audit.


The aim of this module is to provide an overview of the nature of audit within society today encompassing both the private and public sector. It also seeks to enhance student knowledge of current issues relating to corporate governance and accountability by reference both to major multi-national business organisations and devolved market based entities within the public sector.

Brief description

As economic and social life have become more complex, there has been a growth in the demand for transparancy 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 two third parties. More recently 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. Audit, and forms of audit beyond financial audit, has also become increasingly important in the public sector and a significant part of the module will address these developments.


1. What is audit? Audit as a societal control mechanism. Economic explanations for audit.
2. Audit in the public sector, the audit of central and local government
3. Quality control issues and the regulation of the audit process.
4. Audit methodology and the audit risk model.
5. Internal control and internal audit
6. Audit reporting
7. Independence issues - the provision of non-audit services
8. Legal liability, insurance and the spreading of risk.
9. Environmental and social audit

Transferable skills

The requirement to prepare for and make presentations at classes encourages both the development of critical and conceptual thinking and also the ability to communicate ideas and thoughts to others. The coursework assessment is designed to make students engage in individual research and knowledge gathering via web and other sources and the requirement for a word processed essay aids computer literacy and the development of analytical writing skills.

Reading Lists

B Porter, J Simon and D Hatherly (2003) Principles of External Auditing 2nd edition. Wiley
M Power (1997) The Audit Society: Rituals of Verification OUP
M Sherer and S Turley (1997) Current Issues in Auditing 3rd edition. Paul Chapman


This module is at CQFW Level 6