Seven Excuses for Unnecessary Work Papers: Podcast # 10

By Charles Hall | Auditing

Dec 03

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About the Author

Charles Hall is a practicing CPA and Certified Fraud Examiner. For the last thirty years, he has primarily audited governments, nonprofits, and small businesses.He is the author of The Little Book of Local Government Fraud Prevention and Preparation of Financial Statements & Compilation Engagements. He frequently speaks at continuing education events.Charles is the quality control partner for McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co. where he provides daily audit and accounting assistance to over 65 CPAs. In addition, he consults with other CPA firms, assisting them with auditing and accounting issues.

  • Darren J Landry says:

    You mentioned complete General Ledgers, which I can truly understand. However, I am guilty of having complete detailed sub-ledgers and sometimes detailed reports of accounts selected accounts for further testing. I’m wondering if I really need, or should not have, detailed Inventory, A/R, A/P, or the like, in my work-papers. I’m now thinking that I should have just the summary reports in my files and the detailed ledgers should be only used for my testing. If I document those items tested well in a worksheet or memo, could I File 13 the detailed reports?

    I’m curious as to how you handle such items. Regards!

    • Charles Hall says:

      Darren, it depends.

      I might include a full year summary of prepaid insurance just to show that the activity is appropriate (there was a single payment in the year, and then it is amortized). But generally, I don’t keep, for example, the history of all payable activity. I do retain a detail of what comprises the accounts payable total at the end of the year. I try to retain only that which supports steps in my audit program (there has to be a purpose). Preliminary details (such as the general ledger) are not retained. Hope this helps.

      • Darren J Landry says:

        Yes, that helps some. Didn’t mean to put you one the spot with my questioning, just trying to learn…after 20+ years.

        However, I know exactly who to ask about it now. My Peer Reviewer is coming over this morning to wrap up my system review. In other words, I’m getting his findings today. Good, bad or ugly. I might as well get my money’s worth out of him while he’s here and ask about the content of my work papers that he reviewed. They are “supposed” to help you after all, it just doesn’t always feel that way.

  • Charles Hall says:

    Hope it goes well Darren.

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