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HMRC internal manual

VAT Small and Medium Enterprises Assurance Manual

The Audit Process: PERCET: (E) establish: introduction

For a first visit, this is the continuance of the information gathering from the registration and sift processes. For subsequent visits, this is confirmation of the accuracy of the information already held on the trader and the gathering of information about any changes to the business.

Ensure that contact has been made at the appropriate level in the business. Initially this should be at proprietor, partner or director level. This is particularly important at the time of arranging the visit. Clear communication of Departmental requirements will minimise abortive visits.

Information on the traders’ details, activities and accounting systems should be confirmed by interviewing appropriate company personnel and referring to any trader produced documentation, including annual accounts. Direct questions should be asked rather than simply confirming information already held from previous visits. You may need to reconsider your audit approach if your initial understanding from the planning stage was wrong.

You should always remember the reasons for the assurance activity, identified at the sift stage and ensure that these risks are addressed. It could well be that the perceptions of the risks arose because of misinformation or misunderstanding by the Risk teams. Remember the Risk team needs constructive feedback on their compliant/non-compliant decision.