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HMRC internal manual

VAT Small and Medium Enterprises Assurance Manual

The audit process: report generators: introduction

However, with the rise of comprehensive report generator facilities in nearly all standard accounting suites, this method of data interrogation should be considered by all assurance staff, as an on site alternative to removing data from the traders system.

If possible, it is good practice to sit with the trader and go through their exception reporting routines together. This has the double advantage of the officer getting valuable exception reports on the visit and the trader will benefit from learning a method of controlling their business, by keeping copies of these report templates and running them at a later date.

Ideally, traders will have a working knowledge of their report generators and will be able to produce the reports you require, on request. Frequently though, this will not be the case and the CAT method above should benefit both the trader and the officer in controlling the business.

However, in many cases the trader will not have used the report generator and will offer the facility for the officer to use. You must not attempt to inspect the operation of, or gain access to, a computer system unless you are an ‘authorised person’. Only an ‘authorised person’ has the power to obtain access to computer equipment, or inspect and check its operation. If you are not an ‘authorised person’ then you must seek the assistance of an authorised person - see CH218400.