It’s hard to be productive when you’re under time pressure, and that makes cramming for a test difficult. If you’re running short on time to study for the AUD test, consider using a plan that focuses on the most frequently tested topics. This approach makes your available study time effective, and you can enter the exam with some confidence. Use these tips to cram for the AUD test.
The auditing and attestation (AUD) test on the CPA exam covers audit reports, reviews and compilations, along with audit assertions. If the clock’s running out and you need to be smart about what you study, here are the number one areas to cover.
The unqualified audit opinion
An audit is the only type of engagement performed by a CPA in which the accountant provides an opinion about the financial statements. Reviews, compilations, and agreed-upon procedures do not require an opinion, and this work creates less liability for the CPA. The AUD test focuses on audits because of their importance to shareholders, creditors, and other stakeholders, and the majority of the audit questions address the unqualified audit opinion.
Now, I understand that you need to cram and it may seem like you’re rushing, but I recommend that you slow down, focus, and memorize the language in the unqualified audit opinion — every word of it. This audit opinion is heavily tested, and you can answer a lot of questions correctly by memorizing the report.
Handling qualified audit opinions
The vast majority of audit opinions are unqualified, which means that the auditor did not find any material exceptions in the financial statements. All of the other opinions are qualified in some way, and these other opinions use some type of “except for” language. As a result, the qualified opinions are variations on the unqualified opinion language, so if you’ve memorized the unqualified version, the other opinions are easier to understand.
Speak with an experienced auditor
I think the AUD test is difficult because the content is hard to understand if you don’t have a lot of real-world examples. CPA candidates tell me that auditing courses in undergraduate programs are difficult because the professors don’t have any recent auditing experience themselves.
My suggestion is that you quickly reach out to a CPA with auditing experience, and ask them for 30 minutes of their time. Jot down some audit concepts that are unclear, and ask your contact for an explanation.
Here’s an example: when an auditor performs a physical count of inventory, it’s important that no inventory is moved in or out of the warehouse. That’s because the physical inventory items need to match the inventory records in the accounting system. If items are moved in or out, the inventory in the warehouse won’t match the inventory records. In order to understand that concept, you may need some actual inventory counting examples. An experienced auditor can clarify those audit concepts that seem vague.
Running short on time can be stressful, but these tips can help you make good use of your study time. Create a plan so that you can cram for the AUD test and pass it successfully.