What is the meaning of the exam



A monitoring process (monitoring) to be carried out by a natural person (auditor), in which facts, circumstances, properties or statements about these (actual objects) are compared with suitable reference values ​​(target objects) and any deviations are assessed; the auditor must not have been directly or indirectly involved in creating the actual objects (process independence); that is the difference to control. Testing is always purposeful.

Contrast:Process dependency.

Basic elements

1. Actual object: The test object to which the comparison with the standard object relates and which must be specified in more detail in each case; The subject of the test can be individual actual objects or a complex of test objects (test field, test field group). Individual actual objects are e.g. numbers of a specific document, details of a booking account, existing signatures on a document; complex examination areas are e.g. annual financial statements.

2. Solobject: Benchmark for assessing the actual property. As a rule, target objects must be determined by using relevant standards for a reconstructed factual situation. This can be problematic because standards are often not specific enough and there can be competition between standards.

3. Target / actual comparison: In a comparison or error detection process, any differences between the actual and target object are revealed. Determining the extent of a deviation can pose measurement problems. The prerequisite for a measurement is the ability to depict the characteristics of the actual and target object on the same scale.

4. Judgment: The target / actual comparison is followed by the judgment process, a deviation analysis. The judgment has the result of the examination as its content and comments on the flawedness or flawlessness of the examination object. Not every discrepancy found in the comparison process represents an error; Tolerances resulting from the respective standards and areas of uncertainty that arise when the characteristics of actual and target objects cannot be adequately captured must be taken into account. The exact assessment of a detected fault depends on the measurement options. The formation of the judgment is followed by the formulation of the audit result and the judgment notification process (especially the auditor's report and audit report).


1. Company affiliation of the auditor: a) External examination: The auditor is a third party not belonging to the company, e.g. Wirtschaftsprüfer (WP).

b) Internal audit: The auditor is an employee of the company.

See also internal auditing.

2. Legal nature of the basis of the examination: a) Statutory test: There is a legal obligation to examine.

b) Statutory examination: There are review rights that do not have to be used. Permissible maximum scope of examination rights as well as to carry out and initiate the examination. Authorized persons are determined by law. Within the limits set by law, the design of the examination is left to the authorized examiners.

c) Contractually stipulated examination: The basis is a contractual agreement between the authorized examiners and those to be examined. As a rule, the contract stipulates the maximum scope of the audit rights; they do not necessarily have to be exhausted.

d) Free exam: The audit basis is solely the audit assignment issued by the initiating office of the company to be audited. The test object, auditor (external or internal) and the underlying test standards can be determined by the client.

3. Frequency:
(1) Periodic (ongoing) examination;
(2) aperiodic (one-off, but based on a specific occasion) test, often also called special test

4. Aim of the exam:
(1) Compliance check: Review of compliance with legal provisions or internal instructions;
(2) Appropriateness check: Examination of the expediency of operational structures and processes.

5. Type of test objects: A large number of test objects are conceivable

Examples for a differentiation of the examination according to examination objects are:
(1) Situation check: Examination of the economic situation in which the general situation of the company or its parts is to be determined, e.g. profitability check, liquidity check;
(2) Institutional examination / organizational examination: Examination of the organization of the company or its organizational units; focused on the expediency of operational structures and processes;
(3) Detection test is intended to uncover embezzlement and embezzlement.

6. Type of test procedure: A large number of audit procedures are conceivable, e.g. Voting check, transfer check, arithmetic check.

7. Complexity of the audit item: a) Simple test: The audit opinion to be submitted is based on only a target / actual comparison; however, this is not the norm.

b) Complex examination: The delivery of a judgment is based on a plurality of individual target / actual comparisons.

Possibilities of condensing to an overall judgment:
(1) Summary of unconnected individual judgments: Individual judgments are made in isolation without taking into account interdependencies between the individual audit-relevant characteristics. Suitable procedures (e.g. averaging, use of weighting systems) are used to summarize them to form an overall assessment.
(2) Formation of examination chains: If a complex judgment is required about several interrelated actual objects, a chain of individual judgments is made in the form of chronologically sequential primary comparisons, whereby target objects are derived from the checked actual objects of the previous primary comparison. (a) Progressive exam chain, E.g. in the case of an annual audit: an audit based on the economic facts in order to ultimately make a judgment on a balance sheet item. (b) Retrograde test chain if the test direction is reversed. (c) Audit chains can be branched or unbranched; a branch results from the interweaving of initial data and interim or final judgments.

8. Exam intensity: a) Complete examination: All actual objects belonging to the examination complex are examined.

b) Sampling.

9. Applied methods of target / actual comparison: a) Direct examination exists when the assignment of measured values ​​to individual dimensions is immediate and direct.

b) Indirect testing: Testing based on indirect measurement. Substitute objects are used and conclusions for the objects to be assessed are drawn from them; E.g. the record of facts in documents is considered instead of the facts themselves. A functional connection is a prerequisite, because only in this case a link can be made meaningfully. Optional Indirect measurement exists when the tester could also have made a direct measurement. At compulsorily indirect measurement there is no economically justifiable possibility of an illustration without the aid of a substitute quantity. When the target object is determined indirectly (e.g. global reconciliation, testing), only part of the target / actual comparison is determined indirectly; In the case of the indirect determination of the target / actual deviation from the examination of a substitute fact, conclusions are drawn about the quality of the actual object to be examined (e.g. in the area of ​​the annual financial statement examination using the internal control system (ICS) or IT system examination).