Obtaining the Views of Responsible Officials
Requirements: Obtaining the Views of Responsible Officials
Auditors should obtain and report the views of responsible officials of the audited entity concerning the findings, conclusions, and recommendations in the audit report, as well as any planned corrective actions.
When auditors receive written comments from the responsible officials, they should include in their report a copy of the officials’ written comments or a summary of the comments received. When the responsible officials provide oral comments only, auditors should prepare a summary of the oral comments, provide a copy of the summary to the responsible officials to verify that the comments are accurately represented, and include the summary in their report.
When the audited entity’s comments are inconsistent or in conflict with the findings, conclusions, or recommendations in the draft report, the auditors should evaluate the validity of the audited entity’s comments. If the auditors disagree with the comments, they should explain in the report their reasons for disagreement. Conversely, the auditors should modify their report as necessary if they find the comments valid and supported by sufficient, appropriate evidence.
If the audited entity refuses to provide comments or is unable to provide comments within a reasonable period of time, the auditors may issue the report without receiving comments from the audited entity. In such cases, the auditors should indicate in the report that the audited entity did not provide comments.
Application Guidance: Obtaining the Views of Responsible Officials
Providing a draft report with findings for review and comment by responsible officials of the audited entity and others helps the auditors develop a report that is fair, complete, and objective. Including the views of responsible officials results in a report that presents not only the auditors’ findings, conclusions, and recommendations, but also the perspectives of the audited entity’s responsible officials and the corrective actions they plan to take. Obtaining the comments in writing is preferred, but oral comments are acceptable. In cases in which the audited entity provides technical comments in addition to its written or oral comments on the report, auditors may disclose in the report that such comments were received. Technical comments address points of fact or are editorial in nature and do not address substantive issues, such as methodology, findings, conclusions, or recommendations.
Obtaining oral comments may be appropriate when, for example, there is a reporting date critical to meeting a user’s needs; auditors have worked closely with the responsible officials throughout the engagement, and the parties are familiar with the findings and issues addressed in the draft report; or the auditors do not expect major disagreements with findings, conclusions, or recommendations in the draft report, or major controversies with regard to the issues discussed in the draft report.