Cornerstones of Audit: Courses covering key audit concepts
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Cornerstones of Audit: Courses covering key audit concepts

Audit curriculum goal

It has been a recent goal of ours to start building out an audit library, similar to our U.S. GAAP and IFRS eLearning libraries. When an existing client inquired about GAAP Dynamics’ audit course offerings, we knew this was the push we needed to put pen to paper! Why hadn’t we already started on our own audit library? Well, let me back up and provide a little more background information first.

Why are audit training courses tricky to develop?

Audit concepts can be a multifaceted concept when it comes to the development of training courses. Why? Although there are standards from both the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), the task of converting this guidance into training that someone actually enjoys taking and learns from can become complex, not to mention time consuming. Over the years we have heard from many accounting firm clients that they wish they had an audit curriculum. When we realized the need for an audit curriculum, we knew that for the training to be the most effective for participants, it needed to be adaptable to serve auditors of varying industries and of varying audit engagement sizes. The GAAP Dynamics team felt this could best be accomplished by our team doing the heavy lifting of developing the bulk of the course content and then working with accounting firms to layer in their specific audit methodologies and strategies. This approach results in every accounting firm that deploys this audit curriculum ending up with a tailored, firm-specific audit curriculum. Additionally, the GAAP Dynamics team wanted to ensure the training could be delivered both virtually and in-person.

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Putting the plan into action

One of our existing clients, a Top 30 firm, had a desire to have a series of webinars highlighting key audit concepts and recent standard changes while also intertwining their firm-specific approach and viewpoints. This firm performs audit engagements under both AICPA and PCAOB auditing standards, so both sets of guidance would need to be incorporated. We came up with a game plan and got to work! After the GAAP Dynamics team drafted the materials, the firm layered in their content throughout.

While we are known to be “talkers”, the GAAP Dynamics facilitators didn’t do all the talking for these webinars! The plan was for the content to be delivered via a series of 5 webinars facilitated by a GAAP Dynamics instructor and a member from the firm’s national office. The GAAP Dynamics facilitator presented key concepts while the co-facilitator from the national office interjected the firm’s audit approach, specific workpaper references, and efficiency ideas throughout each of the webinars. After going through relevant guidance together, participants had the opportunity to “put it all together” through a series of case studies highlighting the concepts covered. At the halfway point in delivering this series of 5 webinars, all parties seem to be pleased with the results!

Cornerstones of Audit curriculum

So what was covered in the 5 webinars? Below I have included the course descriptions for each webinar. Keep in mind that these are only the first 5 courses developed thus far – many more to come!

Webinar #1: Assessing and responding to risks – the risk assessment process

Auditors identify and assess risks of material misstatement to provide a basis for designing audit procedures to respond to these risks. If only it were as simple as it sounds! This 2-hour, CPE-eligible webinar covers the foundational concepts of risk assessment, including the assessment of inherent risk, significant risk and control risk, risk assessment procedures, and the required stand-back assessment. Responses to the assessed risks are discussed, including tests of controls and substantive procedures. Case studies will be used to reinforce concepts before discussing firm-specific considerations.


Webinar #2: Understanding the entity and its environment, including internal controls

Both AICPA (U.S. GAAS) and PCAOB auditing standards require auditors to “obtain an understanding of the entity and its environment” and “internal control” but what does this actually mean? This 2-hour, CPE-eligible webinar will explore the reasons why this “understanding” is the frame of reference for the planning and execution of the entire audit! The course begins with an overview of applicable guidance, including the requirements for understanding the system of internal control and when an auditor is required to evaluate the design and implementation of controls. Case studies will be used to illustrate these concepts before discussing firm-specific considerations.

Webinar #3: Analytical procedures

Analytical procedures can be very powerful tools when designed and executed correctly. This 2-hour, CPE-eligible webinar will review the auditing standards and the requirements for designing an effective analytical procedure as well as discuss when analytical procedures are appropriate and how they can be used for planning and substantive purposes. After reviewing the guidance, we’ll go over practical examples and wrap up with some reminders about firm methodology specific to analytical procedures.

Webinar #4: Audit sampling

As it is impossible to test every single transaction, we as auditors leverage the sampling process to help us address identified risks and obtain relevant and reliable audit evidence. However, the sampling process isn’t so easy! In this 2-hour, CPE-eligible webinar, we will discuss important considerations as it relates to sampling, including:

  • When to use sampling
  • The various approaches available
  • How to determine a sample size, and
  • Evaluating results

We will then walk through a SAMPLE of case-studies in order to highlight these important considerations through real-life examples. And lastly, we will discuss specific issues related to the firm and the sampling process.

Webinar #5: Auditing estimates and related disclosures, including the use of specialists

=Management estimates continues to be a difficult audit area with a significant number of inspection findings. In this 2-hour, CPE-eligible webinar, we’ll explore the guidance around auditing estimates including the three prescribed audit approaches. Because management estimates often involve specialists, we’ll also discuss the guidance around the auditor’s use of both management and auditor-engaged specialists. In addition, we’ll go over common pitfalls, apply what we’ve learned in various case studies, and review firm methodology around auditing estimates and use of specialists.

Looking for your own tailored, audit curriculum?

Do you think this would be a good fit for your auditors? Interested in learning more about our Cornerstones of Audit curriculum? Let’s talk!

About GAAP Dynamics  

We’re a DIFFERENT type of accounting training firm. We don’t think of training as a “tick the box” exercise, but rather an opportunity to empower your people to help them make the right decisions at the right time. Whether it’s U.S. GAAP training, IFRS training, or audit training, we’ve helped thousands of professionals since 2001. Our clients include some of the largest accounting firms and companies in the world. As lifelong learners, we believe training is important. As CPAs, we believe great training is vital to doing your job well and maintaining the public trust. We want to help you understand complex accounting matters and we believe you deserve the best training in the world, regardless of whether you work for a large, multinational company or a small, regional accounting firm. We passionately create high-quality training that we would want to take. This means it is accurate, relevant, engaging, visually appealing, and fun. That’s our brand promise. Want to learn more about how GAAP Dynamics can help you? Let’s talk!


This post is published to spread the love of GAAP and provided for informational purposes only. Although we are CPAs and have made every effort to ensure the factual accuracy of the post as of the date it was published, we are not responsible for your ultimate compliance with accounting or auditing standards and you agree not to hold us responsible for such. In addition, we take no responsibility for updating old posts, but may do so from time to time.

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