Audit Planning Control at Home Depot Essay

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Audit Planning Control

The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) has published guidelines for preparing an audit plan. The first step is the preliminary engagement activities, which is focused on establishing an understanding of the terms of engagement for the audit. The steps in the planning process are to identify the scope of the audit; to determine the reporting objectives; to consider the results of the preliminary engagement and to determine the resources that are going to be required to conduct the audit -- and the timing of when those resources will be needed (AICPA, 2015).

To audit Home Depot, it is important first to determine what the scope will be, as this will help to determine the resource requirements. A preliminary meeting with the company will help to determine this -- for example is it necessary to visit stores? Conduct inventory? Talk to Canadian HQ? Or is a visit to the main corporate HQ sufficient? Getting the contact information of the key people within the company will be key to this part of the process. Once the scope is determined, then the company can start thinking about the internal resources it will need to conduct this audit -- how many people, how much time, and how much money? The person leading the audit will have to make determinations about these things in order to plan the audit. A company like Home Depot runs a fairly straightforward retail business, but it is also a very large company, and those are factors that need to be taken into account by the auditors when determining what an appropriate scope for the audit should be. It is important that this part of the process takes into account a proper identification of the risk factors, because those will in part determine the scope and the resources required (Knechel & Willekens, 2004).

Performance Ratios

There are several important performance ratios in a retail business. To determine which ones should be the focus of an audit means taking into consideration where risk lies. Inventory is one of those areas, in particular at a company with operations all over the country like Home Depot.
The company has an incredible amount of inventory on the books, and the state of the inventory levels is material to the financial health of the company. A company like Home Depot will utilize automated inventory systems, and many industry leaders like Amazon actually have robots that do work at their warehouses, so Home Depot might, too. What this means is that the accuracy of the inventory tracking systems is important. There are few ways to establish that, such as running tests. But one of the ratios then is the inventory turnover -- making sure that this is accurate is important because if the inventory is turning over too slowly some of it might need to be written down, or simply that it is not being recorded properly if the number are off. So looking at the different factors that could influence the inventory turnover ratio are important (Kang & Gershwin, 2004).

Another ratio that is worth investigating is the quick ratio. This is material because it directly reflects the solvency of the business, and because it does not include the inventories. The quick ratio should be tested on the basis of ensuring that the accounts receivable is accurate, that the cash is recorded properly- that things that are cash equivalents actually are, for example. By understanding the quick ratio, the audit will be better able to establish the solvency of the company.

So at this point, we are testing the accounts receivable, the cash and the inventories. As noted there are a few ways to audit the inventories. It is not necessarily possible to do a physical count -- though this can be done for smaller companies,….....

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Accounting Tools (2016) Accounts receivable auditing. Accounting Tools Retrieved November 27, 2016 from

AICPA (2015) Planning an audit. American Institute of CPAs. Retrieved November 27, 2016 from

Kang, Y. & Gershwin, S. (2004) Information inaccuracy in inventory systems -- stock loss and stockout. MIT. Retrieved November 27, 2016 from

Knechel, W. & Willekens, M. (2014) The role of risk management and governance in determining audit demand. Department of Applied Economics. Retrieved November 27, 2016 from

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