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ACCA P7 THE CONTROL ENVIRONMENT OF A COMPANY (一)

ACCA P7 THE CONTROL ENVIRONMENT OF A COMPANY (一)
The purpose of this article is to provide candidates with a more detailed appreciation of matters pertinent to an auditor, focusing on the need for the auditor of a large limited liability company (in the UK – a limited company) to evaluate the effectiveness of the company’s control environment ISA 315, Identifying and Assessing the Risks of Material Misstatement through Understanding the Entity and Its Environment, sets out the auditor’s responsibility to identify and assess the risks of material misstatement in the financial statements, through understanding the entity and its environment including the entity’s internal control. One of the five components of internal control is the control environment and it is recognised that the control environment within small entities is likely to differ from larger entities. Many candidates have not yet had the opportunity of working in larger entities, or have chosen not to, so have not been exposed to working within the type of strong control environment often referred to in auditing texts. Consequently, they often have limited experience on which to draw when answering exam questions that require anything other than superficial knowledge of an entity’s control environment.
This article aims to provide common examples of matters the auditor needs to consider when assessing an entity’s control environment, and in making an assessment as to their impact on the risk of material misstatement in the financial statements. Reflecting the general trend of exam questions testing knowledge of this area, the article focuses on the need for the auditor of a large limited liability company (in the UK – a limited company) to evaluate the effectiveness of the company’s control environment.
A company’s control environment comprises seven elements each requiring careful consideration by the company’s auditor, recognising that some elements may be more pertinent than others – depending on the subject company. Each one of these elements is identified below, along with an explanation of specific practical aspects that may be considered by the auditor when evaluating its effectiveness. Candidates should be aware that this process forms part of the auditor’s assessment of the overall effectiveness of the company’s internal control, relevant to the audit.
1 Communication and enforcement of integrity and ethical values
Many companies have high values and seek to promote honesty and integrity among their employees on a day-to-day basis. Clearly, if it is evident that such values do exist and are communicated effectively to employees and enforced, this will have the effect of increasing confidence in the design, administration and monitoring of controls – leading to a reduced risk of material misstatement in a company’s financial statements. For example, where a company adopts comprehensive anti-bribery and corruption policies and procedures with regard to contract tendering, and has formal employee notification and checking practices in this regard, it follows that there is reduced risk of material misstatement due to the omission of provisions for fines for the non-compliance with relevant laws and regulations. Alternatively, the existence in a company of comprehensive and ethical procedures with regard to the granting of credit facilities to customers and the pursuance of payment of for goods and services supplied, together with regular supervisory control in this respect, is likely to lead to increased audit confidence in the trade receivables area. This is because the existence of a system allowing goods and services to be a supplied on credit to customers provides the opportunity for fraud to be perpetrated against the company by employees and customers, particularly if controls are deficient in terms of their
design or implementation.

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