5. How does Professional Skepticism relate to the Auditor’s Responsibilities with respect to Fraud?

Updated: Jul 3

Due to the nature of fraud, which can involve sophisticated and well-planned schemes to hide it or even collusion, the auditor's Professional Scepticism is especially important when considering the risks of material misstatements caused by fraud.


Professional Scepticism is given a lot of attention in ISA 240. It includes the requirements about the need to keep a Professional Scepticism throughout the audit, knowing that a material misstatement could be caused by fraud, even if the auditor has seen the entity's management and TCWG, to be honest and trustworthy in the past.

It also says that the auditor must do more investigations if something found during the audit makes the auditor think that a document may not be real or that terms in a document have been changed without the auditor knowing about it.



ISA 240 asserts that maintaining Professional Scepticism in audits requires the auditor to keep asking if the information and audit evidence they have suggested may be a material misstatement due to fraud. This includes considering the reliability of the information to be used as audit evidence and the controls over its preparation and maintenance where relevant. 

ISA 240 also considers those Audit Procedures that work well to find mistakes might not work well to find fraud. So, the requirements of ISA 240 are made to help the auditor find and evaluate the risks of material misstatements caused by fraud and come up with new procedures. In some situations, the ISAs require the auditor to make assumptions about the risk of fraud, the risk of a material misstatement, or specific procedures that are required to be performed. 

They do this because they know how vital Professional Scepticism is in areas that have been shown to be more likely to be wrong, including misstatement due to fraud. For example, there is a required presumption that there are risks of fraud in revenue recognition, the treatment of risks of management override as a risk of material misstatement due to fraud and, therefore, a significant risk, and required procedures for reviewing accounting estimates for biases.

ISA 240 强调,审计师被要求在审计中保持职业怀疑态度,需要不断质问所获取的信息和审计证据是否可能因欺诈而出现重大错报。这包括需要考虑作为审计证据的信息的可靠性,以及对其编制和保留的控制。 

《国际审计准则》第240条还考虑了那些对发现错误 [mistakes] 非常很有效的审计程序 [Audit Procedures] 可能对发现舞弊并不有效。所以,《国际审计准则》第 240 条的要求是为了帮助审计师发现和评估由欺诈引起的重大错报的风险,而提出新的程序。在某些情况下,《国际审计准则》要求审计师对舞弊风险、重大错报的风险或需要执行的具体程序做出假设。 


Determining overall responses to address assessed risks of material misstatement due to fraud generally includes the consideration of how the overall conduct of the audit can reflect increased Professional Scepticism. ISA 240, for example, includes specific examples of how the conduct of the audit might reflect increased Professional Scepticism, including:

  • Increased sensitivity in the selection of the nature and extent of entity documentation to be examined in support of material transactions.

  • Increased recognition of the need to corroborate management explanations or representations concerning material matters.


  • 在选择支持重大交易的实体文件的性质和范围方面,提高敏感性;

  • 进一步意识到关于重大事项,需要管理层的解释或陈述。

The ISAs admit that the risk of an auditor not finding a material misstatement caused by management fraud is higher than employee fraud. This is because management is often in a position to directly or indirectly manipulate accounting records, present false financial information, or override control procedures that are meant to stop other employees from committing similar frauds.   When it comes to this, the ISAs:

  • Indicate that evaluating management’s responses to inquiries with an attitude of Professional Scepticism may need to include corroboration of management’s responses to inquiries with other information.

  • Where responses to inquiries of management or TCWG are inconsistent, require the auditor to investigate the inconsistencies.

  • Require the auditor to reevaluate the prior assessment of the risks of material misstatement due to fraud, the consequential impact on the nature, timing and extent of audit procedures, and the reliability of evidence previously obtained if a misstatement comes to light that it is or may be the result of fraud and that involves management (in particular, senior management) or where circumstances or conditions indicate possible collusion involving employees, the management or third parties.

《国际审计准则》承认,审计师往往很多时候不察觉管理层欺诈造成的重大错报的风险远比雇员欺诈来的高。这是因为管理层往往有能力直接或间接地操纵会计记录,提出虚假的财务信息,或推翻旨在阻止其他员工进行类似欺诈的控制程序。   说到这里,《国际审计准则》:

  • 指出以职业怀疑的态度评估管理层对询问的答复,可能需要包括用其他信息来证实管理层对询问的答复。

  • 当管理层或 TCWG 对询问的答复不一致时,要求审计师调查不一致之处。

  • 要求审计师重新评估之前对欺诈导致的重大错报风险的评估,对审计程序的性质、时间和范围的相应影响,以及在发现错报是或可能是欺诈的结果且涉及管理层(特别是高级管理层)或情况或条件显示可能涉及雇员、管理层或第三方的串通时,之前获得的证据的可靠性。

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