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University of Exeter Business School


Module titleAuditing
Module codeBEA3022
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Warren Maroun (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks




Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description



Auditing is of critical importance for the smooth functioning of financial markets and efficient allocation of resources. A number of high-profile corporate failures have, however, shaken the confidence of non-expert users in the external audit function (examples include Enron, WorldCom and Tyco (USA), Barings Bank (UK), Parmalat (Italy) HIH (Australia) and Satyam (India)).While a number of deficiencies in audit practice contributed to these scandals, much of the criticism directed at the audit profession can be attributed to the fact that the process followed by external auditors to reach a conclusion on a company’s financial statements is not well understood.


In this context, the aim of this module is to enable students to understand:

  • The nature and objectives of the audit function
  • The audit process
  • The concepts underlying, and the principles of, audit practice 
  • Some of the current issues and challenges facing the audit profession



Additional Information:




This module looks at the International Auditing Standards, which are applicable in most countries.


External Engagement


This module is accredited by major professional accounting and finance bodies, such as: ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales), ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), and ICAS (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland).




This module equips students with practical auditing skills and the course feeds into the professional accounting qualification.


**It should be noted that the module is intended to provide students with a good understanding of the principles of external auditing and its value for society. The module is at an introductory level and will be useful for students interested in pursuing further studies towards a professional accounting/auditing qualification**.

Module aims - intentions of the module

The module aims to give you an understanding of the basic concepts and techniques relating to the execution of an audit of financial statements in terms of International Standards on Auditing and provides you with an understanding of the legal and ethical framework surrounding auditing.


The overall aim of the auditing module is to enable students to understand:

  • The nature and objectives of the audit function
  • The audit process
  • The concepts underlying, and the principles of, audit practice 
  • Some of the current issues and challenges facing the audit profession

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Explain the role and importance of the external audit function and the value of financial statement audits
  • 2. Explain the importance of ethical behaviour in the context of external audit and apply codes of professional conduct (including the Financial Reporting Council Ethical Standard) to identify threats to ethical behaviour and appropriate safeguards to address those risks
  • 3. Discuss the planning phase of an audit engagement and the procedures which an auditor follows before accepting a new audit client
  • 4. Identify and discuss risks of material misstatement at the overall/financial statement level and at the assertion level
  • 5. Identify, discuss, explain and critically evaluate a company’s internal controls
  • 6. Identify, discuss, explain and recommend tests of controls and substantive procedures (including suitable data analytics) which can be used to obtain sufficient and appropriate audit evidence
  • 7. Evaluate misstatements identified during the audit process
  • 8. Discuss the reporting responsibilities to shareholders and to those charged with the governance of the reporting entity
  • 9. Discuss emerging issues in the auditing arena and applicable regulatory requirements (such as the UK Company Act, US Sarbanes Oxley Act and Listing requirements, and certain EU regulations) concerning the appointment of auditors and execution of audit engagement
  • 10. Explain the nature and role of corporate governance in an organisation as part of the broader system of checks and balances which ensures the integrity of financial reporting and compliance with appliable laws, regulations, and listing requirements
  • 11. Describe and discuss other types of assurance engagement which an external auditor may offer to their client

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 12. Critically evaluate arguments and evidence in accounting and auditing discourse
  • 13. Analyse structured accounting and auditing problems logically and apply critical thinking, knowledge and skills to solve them

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 14. Communicate effectively in writing, using appropriate technical terms and forms
  • 15. Work independently and manage time effectively

Syllabus plan

1: The Conceptual Framework for Assurance Engagements including:

  • The role of auditors
  • The audit expectation gap
  • The regulatory environment

2: The planning phase of an audit engagement including:

  • Pre-engagement activities
  • Gaining an understanding of the client
  • Assessing risk at the overall level
  • Assessing risk at the transaction level
  • Determining materiality

3: The execution phase of an audit engagement including:

  • Tests of control
  • Substantive tests of detail
  • Substantive analytical review

The execution phase is illustrated using different business cycles namely revenue and receivables and purchases and payables

4: Evaluating misstatements and introduction to the audit report

5: Introduction to other types of assurance engagements

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activity22Lectures
Scheduled learning and teaching activity10Tutorials
Guided independent study118Reading and preperation for tutorials and assessments

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Assigned work for each tutorial (in groups or individually)3 hrs preparation by the students/1hr in-class discussion1-15In class and suggested solutions on ELE

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
In-class test201 hour1-15 In class and suggested solutions on ELE
Written examination802 hours1-15Suggested solutions on ELE

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
In-class test (20%) In class test (20%) [1 hour]1-15August/September reassessment period
Written examination (80%)Final examination (80%) [2 hours]1-15August/September reassessment period

Re-assessment notes

** If you pass the module overall you will not be referred in any component – even if you have not passed one of the individual components.

Students who fail the whole module will be re-assessed with an in-class test and/or summer examination, whichever is relevant as above.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

The required text for the module is:

  • Büchling, M., Cerbone, C., Kok, M., Maroun, W., Marques, G., & Segal, T. (2019). Assurance, risk and governance: An international perspective. Claremont, Cape Town: Juta & Company


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Auditing, Auditors, External

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites

BEA2019 and BEA2020 (For UG students)

Module co-requisites

BEAM024 (For MSc Accounting & Finance students)

NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date