How to use the Performance Audit Manual

Objective of the manual
Organization of the manual
Summary of sections in the manual
Terms used in the manual

Objective of the manual

The objective of this Performance Audit Manual is to provide auditors at all levels with information on the conceptual foundation of audits, as well as an overview of how audits should be selected, planned, conducted, and reported.

The complete manual contains:

  • applicable Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) assurance standards*;
  • policies at the Office of the Auditor General; and
  • guidance on how to apply the standards and policies.

*The CICA assurance standards have been removed in the public web version in order to respect the terms of the OAG and CICA copyright Agreement.

CICA assurance standards. This manual is the first performance audit manual to include relevant CICA standards, word for word, in each section. Compliance with these standards is required. The exact wording has been included to make the link to Office methodology explicit, and to help performance auditors understand why certain processes must be followed.

OAG policies. OAG policies have been established to help auditors comply with performance audit standards (where there are applicable standards), and to communicate legislative and other requirements. In some cases, there are no applicable CICA standards, only Office policy.

Guidance. The guidance in the manual explains how mandatory standards and policies are applied to the performance audit practice and includes links to more detailed guidance and tools available on the Office's INTRAnet. The guidance sets out the practices used by the Office to ensure compliance with the standards and policies. The manual should be used in conjunction with TeamMate, the Office's electronic tool for documenting audit work.

TeamMate. TeamMate contains detailed procedures and the templates to be used for each step of an audit. Links are provided from TeamMate to the manual (referred to as "OAG Audit" and a section number) wherever appropriate. Since documentation is a key part of complying with the CICA standards, procedures in TeamMate must be followed, unless otherwise indicated.

Organization of the manual

The Performance Audit Manual has the same look and feel as the Annual Audit Manual and the Special Examination Manual, making it easier for auditors to work on the three different product lines. The manual also incorporates the elements of the Office's new system of quality control, which is designed to be compliant with the Canadian Standard on Quality Control 1 (CSQC1) and with CICA 5030.

The manual comprises sections that are specific to performance audit, as well as sections that apply to all product lines. The manual integrates all relevant information. Each section contains subsections that discuss a specific audit requirement, process, or step and contains links to other relevant sections.

Summary of the sections in the manual

Section 100 provides an overview of performance auditing at the Office.

Section 1000 covers key audit principles such as professional judgment and sufficient appropriate evidence. Most of this material is applicable to all product lines.

Section 1100 addresses audit documentation and review of audit work. Most of this material is applicable to all product lines.

Section 1500 explains the Office's process for maintaining knowledge of the business between audits, and the long-range planning process for selecting performance audits.

Section 2000 addresses overall engagement management considerations, including managing an audit as a project, the importance of selecting significant areas to audit, and initial and ongoing communication with the entity.

Section 3000 sets out the initial engagement considerations, and explains the terms under which the Office undertakes an audit, auditor independence, and the roles of the assistant auditor general, the engagement leader (principal), team members, internal specialists, and the quality reviewer. Most of this material is applicable to all product lines.

Section 4000 covers the planning process for performance audits.

Section 6000 explains the process for using work conducted by an entity's internal auditors and applies to all product lines.

Section 7000 covers the examination phase for performance audits, including the initial drafting of the audit report in the form of a chapter.

Section 8000 describes the reporting phase for performance audits up to the tabling date.

Section 9000 covers post-tabling activities for performance audits, including activities such as file finalization and parliamentary committee hearings.

Terms used in the manual

The CICA standards use wording that applies to the private sector context, such as "firm" (interpreted as the Office), "practitioner" or "engagement leader" (interpreted as the audit principal), and "practitioner's report" (interpreted as the audit chapter). The manual sections that are specific to performance audit explain how to apply the standards to the Office's performance audit work. A glossary is provided.