Ownership and custody :
Working papers are the property of the auditor. The auditor may, at his discretion, make portions of or extracts from his working papers available to his client.
The auditor should adopt reasonable procedures for custody and confidentiality of his working papers General guidelines for the preparation of working papers are:
1. Clarity and Understanding – As a preparer of audit documentation, step back and read your work objectively. Would it be clear to another auditor? Working papers should be clear and understandable without supplementary oral explanations. With the information the working papers reveal, a reviewer should be able to readily determine their purpose, the nature and scope of the work done and the preparer’s conclusions.
2. Completeness and Accuracy – As a reviewer of documentation, if you have to ask the audit staff basic questions about the audit, the documentation probably does not really serve the purpose. Work papers should be complete, accurate, and support observations, testing, conclusions, and recommendations. They should also show the nature and scope of the work performed.
3. Pertinence – Limit the information in working papers to matters that are important and necessary to support the objectives and scope established for the assignment.
4. Logical Arrangement – File the working papers in a logical order.
5. Legibility and Neatness – Be neat in your work. Working papers should be legible and as neat as practical. Sloppy work papers may lose their worth as evidence. Crowding and writing between lines should be avoided by anticipating space needs and arranging the work papers before writing.
6. Safety – Keep your work papers safe and retrievable.
7. Initial and Date – Put your initials and date on every working paper.
8. Summary of conclusions – Summarize the results of work performed and identify the overall significance of any weaknesses or exceptions found.