Audit Documentation

Requirements: Audit Documentation


Auditors must prepare audit documentation related to planning, conducting, and reporting for each audit. Auditors should prepare audit documentation in sufficient detail to enable an experienced auditor, having no previous connection to the audit, to understand from the audit documentation the nature, timing, extent, and results of audit procedures performed; the evidence obtained; and its source and the conclusions reached, including evidence that supports the auditors’ significant judgments and conclusions.


Auditors should prepare audit documentation that contains evidence that supports the findings, conclusions, and recommendations before they issue their report.


Auditors should design the form and content of audit documentation to meet the circumstances of the particular audit. The audit documentation constitutes the principal record of the work that the auditors have performed in accordance with standards and the conclusions that the auditors have reached. The quantity, type, and content of audit documentation are a matter of the auditors’ professional judgment.


Auditors should document the following:

  1. the objectives, scope, and methodology of the audit;

  2. the work performed and evidence obtained to support significant judgments and conclusions, as well as expectations in analytical procedures, including descriptions of transactions and records examined (for example, by listing file numbers, case numbers, or other means of identifying specific documents examined, though copies of documents examined or detailed listings of information from those documents are not required); and

  3. supervisory review, before the audit report is issued, of the evidence that supports the findings, conclusions, and recommendations contained in the audit report.


When auditors do not comply with applicable GAGAS requirements because of law, regulation, scope limitations, restrictions on access to records, or other issues affecting the audit, the auditors should document the departure from the GAGAS requirements and the impact on the audit and on the auditors’ conclusions.

Application Guidance: Audit Documentation


Audit documentation is an essential element of audit quality. The process of preparing and reviewing audit documentation contributes to the quality of an audit. Audit documentation serves to (1) provide the principal support for the audit report, (2) aid auditors in conducting and supervising the audit, and (3) allow for the review of audit quality.


An experienced auditor means an individual (whether internal or external to the audit organization) who possesses the competencies and skills that would have enabled him or her to conduct the performance audit. These competencies and skills include an understanding of (1) the performance audit processes, (2) GAGAS and applicable legal and regulatory requirements, (3) the subject matter associated with achieving the audit objectives, and (4) issues related to the audited entity’s environment.


When documenting departures from the GAGAS requirements, the audit documentation requirements apply to departures from unconditional requirements and from presumptively mandatory requirements when alternative procedures performed in the circumstances were not sufficient to achieve the objectives of the requirements.

Availability of Individuals and Documentation

Requirement: Availability of Individuals and Documentation


Subject to applicable provisions of laws and regulations, auditors should make appropriate individuals and audit documentation available upon request and in a timely manner to other auditors or reviewers.

Application Guidance: Availability of Individuals and Documentation


Underlying GAGAS audits is the premise that audit organizations in federal, state, and local governments and public accounting firms engaged to conduct audits in accordance with GAGAS cooperate in auditing programs of common interest so that auditors may use others’ work and avoid duplication of efforts. The use of auditors’ work by other auditors may be facilitated by contractual arrangements for GAGAS audits that provide for full and timely access to appropriate individuals and to audit documentation.