The Audit Process: report generators: other factors
Spreadsheets - Remember that ANY entry into a trader’s spreadsheet will alter the live data of the trader’s accounting system. Therefore, when dealing with spreadsheets you should always get the trader to give you a copy of the spreadsheet on disk and copy that spreadsheet onto your laptop before working on it. This will have been covered on the CAT course.
Other Report Generators - Other packages will have Report Generator facilities, but they will not follow the Sage method of operation exactly, even though they will have to achieve the same objectives. Therefore, when encountering a new Report Generator you are advised to leave its operation to the trader until you are confident in its use.
Support - Prior to going on the visit, you should ascertain the software package in use then check the audit service website, as there are assurance officer guides to several of the main small business packages on the site.
Summary - Officers should consider the use of report generator facilities, for the on site interrogation of traders data, wherever possible. It should mean that you are able to tackle 100% of the risks you identify on the visit and use the resource of your time more effectively. The alternative is to use pre-generated paperwork for this and probably fail to quantify the tax at risk in its entirety.