One of the auditor’s important duties is to review the work papers prepared by their peers in the performance of professional engagements.
Who should review: Generally, work papers prepared by staff auditors are reviewed by someone other than them (auditor in charge), usually experienced and qualified by education, certifications, and training. In most cases, it will be the senior auditor, manager, or above. If external auditors or public accountants rely on the client’s internal audit services, then work papers prepared by internal auditors are reviewed by the external auditor in charge and, finally, the supervisor or the partner on the engagement.
What should be reviewed: The auditor in-charge is tasked by the partner or chief audit executive to ensure that adequate information about the examination is captured in the work papers, and you can be sure to meet that expectation by following some or all the following best practices:
Important Tips: Having said this, it’s important for staff auditors or auditors preparing the work papers to be adequately trained and equipped with sufficient tools and knowledge to implement best practices from the get-go of their profession. It might serve the auditor in charge to set some time aside to understand the staff auditor’s experience before any engagement and if needed provide sufficient training to avoid follow-up work for the individuals reviewing the work papers.
Understand that even after going through classroom training, the staff auditor preparing the working paper for the first few engagements might make some mistakes or produce low-quality work papers. Your constructive and friendly feedback will help them succeed in their careers. Remember, you were once a staff auditor. Their success will depend on your ability to help them in the early stages of their career. Most importantly, give them time to learn from their mistakes and appreciate their progress whenever appropriate.
Endnotes: The University of Mississippi, Review of audit working papers, 1959, accessed Dec 2022 https://egrove.olemiss.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1352&context=dl_hs