AF6033 - Assurance

What will I learn on this module?

In this module, you will learn about assurance and the audit profession, through engagement with current academic theory, professional standards and guidance, and ‘real life’ scenarios. Topics are viewed and taught as interrelated concepts. The following topics are covered during the module:

Audit in Context
- What is the role, purpose and value of audit? You will consider the public interest and the role of audit, and the profession, in society, as well as its role in corporate governance - internal audit, external audit and the audit committee.
- What does the audit report say? You will learn about the requirements for audit reporting, how they have changed, and whether audit reports are useful.
- What are the professional and statutory rules governing audit? You will consider the framework of professional standards and legal liability auditors work within.

Audit Ethics
You will consider the IFAC Code of Professional Ethics and what it means for auditors.
- How does the nature of the audit business impact on audit ethics?
- How does audit regulation promote or comprise confidence in audit ethics?
- Why do audit ethics matter?
- Threats to audit independence.

Audit Process
The identification of audit risk from knowledge of the business and the control environment. Planning the audit assignment. Analysis of Business Risk and application to the audit. Assessment of Risk Management and Internal Control. The nature of audit evidence and the methods of collection. The audit of going concern. Formulating and reporting an audit opinion. The idea of professional scepticism.

Current Issues in Auditing
You will learn about recent high profile debates highlighted by the Competition and Markets Authority study into the statutory audit market, the Kingman review of the future of financial reporting, the Brydon review into the quality and effectiveness of audit and the Redmond review into local authority financial reporting and audit. You will consider current issues in the world of auditing and assurance such as:
- the ongoing independence debate
. audit of complex areas such as going concern and accounting estimates
- new developments in auditing standards,
- The role of audit in detection and prevention of fraud.
- The sustainability of the audit market
- the assurance of environmental reporting

How will I learn on this module?

You will be supported by a teaching and learning plan which outlines the formal sessions, together with tutor-directed study and independent learning, including reading. An interactive approach to lecture sessions will draw upon the directed learning undertaken and participants’ own experiences. Throughout, the emphasis will be on high levels of participation, by both you individually, and within small groups or teams. Workshops and seminars will focus both on interpreting and debating relevant academic research, and on applying auditing skills to ‘real life’ situations through a reflective-practitioner approach, critically analysing and making recommendations for appropriate ways forward for the organisation/individual. You will be encouraged to develop professional skills, such as professional scepticism, ethical and commercial awareness and apply them to these exercises. The practical aspects are informed by contact with practitioners and may involve input from a practice-based guest lecturer.

Directed learning will centre upon a range of activities including pre-reading, preparation for interactive activities and use of the audit simulation on the e-learning platform.

Independent learning will centre upon you identifying and pursuing areas of interest in relation to the subject area or by providing deeper/broader knowledge and understanding of the subject through a range of learning activities that might include extended reading, reflection, research etc.

You will learn through both tutor- and student - led activities during contact hours, alongside independent completion of directed study activities. Directed study is highlighted on the teaching and learning plan, alongside updates to recommended reading during lectures and seminars.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

During contact teaching hours, you will be supported by the tutors, and key reading from both the academic and practice led literature bases will be highlighted to you (including reference to the relevant International Auditing Standards). Tutors will be available both during sessions, and via email to answer student queries about the module. Formative feedback will be provided by tutors, both verbally during teaching sessions, and through additional guidance documentation on the eLearning Portal.

The e learning portal site of the module will be populated with information on taught activities in advance of all sessions.

The audit simulation will be accessible via e learning portal site of the module throughout the module, to allow you to explore examples of audit processes and documentation in preparation for your assessment.

Examples of prior examination questions will also be available for you to access, to enable you to prepare accordingly for assessment.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:

• At the end of the modules you are expected to have critically analysed the role of the auditing business in the corporate world (MLO1).

• Identify audit risk and select, with justification, appropriate audit techniques to obtain audit evidence to support the formulation of the audit opinion appropriate to professional practice (MLO2).

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:

• Critique the development of your auditing practice in the context of progression to professional settings (MLO3).

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

• At the end of the modules you are expected to have critically analysed the role ethics within the auditing profession (MLO4).

How will I be assessed?

Formative Assessment:
Formative assessment will be provided to you through a range of seminar activities which will enable you to prepare for summative assessment during, and at end of the module. You will be given the opportunity to develop your examination skills through exemplar examination questions. Formative assessment will be provided by tutors during sessions, and through guidance notes to seminar activities.

Summative Assessment:
2 ½ hour closed book examination plus 15 minutes reading time (80%). The exam will contain a mix of short form, case study, and essay questions in order to meet the learning objectives (MLO1, MLO2, MLO3 & MLO4).

Practical ‘Online’ assessment (20%) under examination conditions. Students are allowed 1 hour + 15 mins reading time. Digital feedback will be provided via Electronic Student Assessment and Feedback (ESAF). Learning objective assessed through a practical ‘audit’ task being completed, which is related to the audit simulation (MLO2)





Module abstract

Using a range of theoretical teaching and practical activities, this module explores the nature of assurance and the role of the professional auditor. It will give you an insight into the practical aspects of how and why assurance engagements are performed, paying particular attention to audit and its role in corporate reporting. You’ll explore and learn to critically appraise the theory supporting current audit practice, and consider the nature and influence of audit risk, independence and liability within the modern audit. You’ll also focus on the contemporary and contentious issues surrounding audit quality and the ethical conflicts arising from audit as a business.

Course info

UCAS Code N405

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 year sandwich

Department Newcastle Business School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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