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Remote auditing – obtaining evidence

The spread of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) resulted in the rapid adoption of remote working, including remote auditing techniques. This extract from the Audit and Assurance Faculty Know-How guide 'Remote auditing in practice' focuses on obtaining evidence.

Auditing standards assume that auditors can in many cases, be physically present at the entity's premises. While the four basic techniques for gathering audit evidence - observation, inspection, inquiry, and analytical procedures - do not require auditors to be on-site, auditors will need to consider how they will compensate for a lack of physical proximity in some areas. A different mix of techniques is likely to be necessary to provide sufficient, appropriate audit evidence, and the quality and quantity of audit evidence required will need to be reconsidered.  

Part of the value of these four techniques lies in the need to engage directly with the entity's management and staff. The quality of engagement may change when procedures or documents are being observed or inspected remotely, and where inquiries are made and explanations provided online. The reduction in engagement between entity staff among themselves compounds the potential problem. Auditors may wish to consider the following: