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ISA 230: Audit documentation

The auditing standard ISA 230 sets out the documentation requirements for auditors on audit working papers and audit evidence. Find articles, books and online resources providing quick links to the standard, guidance and recent developments.

Full standard

ISA (UK) 230: Audit documentation (Updated January 2020)
As issued by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) in January 2020.

The International Standards on Auditing (UK and Ireland) issued by the FRC are based on the International Standards on Auditing issued by the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) and published by the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).

2018 Handbook of International Quality Control, Auditing, Review, Other Assurance, and Related Services Pronouncements
Latest edition of the handbook published by the IAASB.

FRC guidance

The FRC announced in June 2018 that it has withdrawn Practice Note 26: Guidance on smaller entity audit documentation. The press release FRC withdraws 'Practice Note 26 - Guidance on Smaller Entity Documentation' gives more information.

ICAEW guidance and support

Technical information, guidance and webinars on ISA 230 to support auditors.

Audit and Assurance Faculty
The faculty gives members a comprehensive package of essential guidance and technical advice. It produces a monthly newsletter with the latest thinking, technical bulletins and regulatory updates, and member-only events.


Guidance on small charity audit documentation
Guidance note produced by the Audit and Assurance Faculty in October 2010, providing practical examples of audit documentation based on a charity to complement those included in PN26 (Revised).

Documentation of significant professional judgements in a clarified ISA audit
Part of the guidance on clarified ISAs published in 2010, this module covers:

  • Why is professional judgement so important in an audit?
  • What is the purpose of documenting professional judgement?
  • When and to what extent do I need to document professional judgement?
  • What constitutes proper documentation of professional judgement?
  • Are there any other ISA requirements on documenting professional judgement?

Understanding and documenting internal control in a smaller clarified ISA audit
Part of the guidance on clarified ISAs published in 2010, this module includes information on:

  • Why do auditors have to obtain an understanding of internal control when auditing a smaller entity?
  • How do auditors decide which components of internal control are relevant?
  • How do auditors document components of internal control?

Articles and webinars

Group dynamics
Group audits can be challenging for group and component auditors. This article from Audit & Beyond, the magazine of the Audit and Assurance Faculty, offers some practical advice on how to avoid or overcome some of the more common problems. Published in June 2014.

Mastering audit documentation
This webinar explored what needs to be documented and how this can be done efficiently. It included practical examples of particular interest to SME auditors. Originally broadcast in November 2013.

Cogent communication
Audit documentation is an area where the gap between theory and practice can be difficult to close. In theory, simply recording what audit work has been done should not be hard. In practice, it is a challenge. This article was published in the November 2013 issue of Audit & Beyond.

John Selwood's Q&A
Thinking about efficiency post-clarity implementation? Minimising audit documentation and referring to the ISAs are good places to start. This article appeared in the October 2012 edition of Audit & Beyond.

Documenting with confidence
It is clear that practitioners are grappling with performing the most cost-effective audits while producing files that are fully compliant with the standards. This article from Audit & Beyond, September 2011, offers tips on documentation best practice and pitfalls to avoid.


The Library provides full text access to a selection of key business and reference eBooks from leading publishers. eBooks are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users. If you are unable to access an eBook, please see our Help and support advice or contact library@icaew.com.

Audit and assurance essentials for professional accountancy exams
Katharine Bagshaw (Wiley, 2013)
This primer on the key concepts of professional auditing and assurance syllabuses has a chapter on planning, materiality and documentation. It outlines the types of documentation required and what to leave out, provides example working papers and explores audit documentation for smaller firms.

Core auditing standards for practitioners
Katherine Bagshaw and John Selwood (Wiley, 2014)
This book contains a section on ISA 230 and documentation which highlights the main issues and problems for auditors, as well as discussion of what to document and why.

Articles and books in the Library collection

Selected books

Implementing GAAS 2015-16
Ian Connon and Helen MacNeil (Wolters Kluwer, 2016)
Implementing GAAS 2015-16 (Generally Accepted Auditing Standards) provides guidance on current UK auditing standards and the supporting Practice Notes, Bulletins and other material. The annually updated title contains examples, illustrations of recent reports and discussion of problem areas, including a chapter on documentation with example letters.

The audit process: Principles, practice and cases
Iain Gray and Stuart Manson (Cengage Learning, 2011)
An introduction to the principles and practice of auditing, with a section on audit documentation within the chapter on final review.

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