I am pretty excited about studying for the AUD section of the CPA Exam because this involves what I do for a living. As a government auditor, most of the topics covered relate to what I do at work on a daily basis. I believe that this works to my advantage because I am all too familiar with the audit process.
Although I have passed this section in the past, I unfortunately lost credit due to the 18-month window lapsing. I feel confident that I can pass it again. However, I have always under performed in the following areas: Segregation of duties, Evidence, and Sampling. These are the most difficult topics for me to understand at times for various reasons.
I fully understand the theory behind segregating of duties; but application can get fuzzy.
It basically is a control that makes it difficult for an individual to perpetuate or conceal fraud; consequently, no one individual should have the ability to authorize transactions, record transactions, have custody of assets, and perform a comparison/reconciliation (ARCC). That totally makes sense to me.
However, when applying this to real life situations, I have a tendency to get confused. There is an obvious breakdown in my understanding. This time around, I plan to dedicate more time to understanding the application of this practice instead of just memorizing the mnemonic, as I am certain this will help me in my profession as well.
Evidence is not one of my favorite topics, which is ironic coming from an auditor.
I am not completely sure why. The only reason I can pinpoint is that it bores me. To this day, trying to figure out what evidence needs to be gathered to support certain processes is confusing to me. Because it is all so unclear, I normally skim over the material without giving it the proper time and attention it deserves. I have a horrible habit of skipping on to other topics that are more interesting and easy for me to understand, which is a colossal mistake to make. As with learning the appropriate application of segregating incompatible duties, I will have to bite the bullet and dedicate more time to fully understanding this module, as opposed to just memorizing the material.
Lastly, I will have to develop a different approach to tackling sampling methods.
In general, I understand most of it. However, when it comes to when to increase or decrease a sample size, there are some definite gaps in my understanding. In addition, there are some calculations involved in this particular module. Although the calculations are not difficult, they can be a little tricky. I have been known to transpose numbers within formulas. In contrast to my other areas of difficulty, I plan to actually memorize these formulas, which is something I did not do effectively in the past. In real life, sample techniques are performed used analytical software. Still, I will simply commit the formulas to memory by reviewing them as often as possible.
In order to make improvements in any area, you must first evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.
Once you have done so, you can develop a plan for how you will avoid falling victim to those weaknesses. Do not be afraid to tackle them head on. I am undoubtedly aware of the areas where I struggle in this section of the exam. With a plan of action in place, I will overcome them this time and be on my way to becoming a CPA!!!
--Kimberly Smith, Guest Blogger for Roger CPA Review