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When does audit documentation have to be completed for public company audits?

For issuers, the audit team must complete all audit documentation within 45 days from the date the audit report is issued. Prior to the audit report date, the audit team should have completed all of the key audit procedures to support their audit opinion. The 45 days is mainly used to finalize the current and permanent file.

Very little audit work, if any, should be performed after the date of the audit report. Most audit firms have procedures in place to prevent audit documentation from being modified after the audit report date.

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  • How long does the audit team need to retain documentation

    Once the auditors have completed their workpapers for a given client, they must retain that audit documentation for a certain period of time. The retention requirements of audit documentation are 5 years for nonissuers and 7 years for issuers. The start date is based on the report release date. The report release date is when the financial statements, which includes the audit report, are released to the general public. When you finally reach the conclusion of the audit and send the audit report to your client, you’ll probably take a big sigh of relief! However, wrapping up the audit can be a giant pain in the ass. Wrapping up the audit is extremely important, so it is critical that the audit team performs this step correctly.

  • What is the current audit file?

    The audit team will need to maintain a current file and a permanent file. The current audit file is used to maintain audit documentation specific to the current year and would not necessarily be useful in future audits. This would include audit reports, financial statements, representation letters, etc.

  • What is the difference between the permanent and current audit file (universal cpa review)?

    The current audit file is used to store documentation that is applicable to the current year audit only. If the document will likely be needed in future audits, then the document should be placed in the permanent audit file. The visual below illustrates the items that are commonly stored in the current file vs the permanent file. Universal CPA Review created this excellent visual!