Postgraduate taught 

Corporate Governance & Accountability MSc

Audit, Risk and Control ACCFIN5055

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: Adam Smith Business School
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

This course centres on a critical examination of the nature and role of modern audit, its relationship with other practices of governance including risk management and control, and how it has evolved and is evolving in response to a challenging environment.


10 x 2 hour lectures and 6 hours of tutorials

Excluded Courses





2 hour degree examination (75%) and one group coursework assignment (25%)

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

The course aims to enable students to understand the nature of modern audit and to criticize its functioning and social role. The course will address:

1. the theory of auditing;

2. the practical application of that theory (in overview);

3. the regulatory framework and commercial environment of audit;

4. audit's role in governance and management and its place in relation to trust, risk and accountability;

5. the changing role of internal control;

6. the pressures, problems and main criticisms facing audit in the 21st century.


The aims of the course will be expressed across the investigation of a range of topics involving consideration of issues in private and public sector audit and assurance and financial and non-financial audit and assurance, and internal and external audit and assurance. Those topics may change as audit evolves but will for the foreseeable future include:


■ The evolution of the nature and role of audit and assurance services, financial and non-financial, private and public.

■ The conceptual / philosophical foundations and framework for audit - (academic thought and practical validity).

■ Auditor independence and the duty of care; responsibilities, liabilities, and expectations

■ Risk, trust and accountability; managerial accountability and transparency versus trust

■ The emergence and continuing development of risk-based approaches to audit (audit-risk to business-risk),

■ The evolution of internal control as risk management

■ The audit and assurance process: planning; the evidence mix, sampling and materiality, judgement and completing the audit,

■ The audit and assurance process: negotiation, judgement, and the reporting / communication of an opinion.

■ Audit and assurance practice and the achievement of audit quality

■ The regulatory, monitoring and enforcement, and commercial environment of audit.


Attention will be given to the routine aspects of audit only insofar as is necessary to enable students to fundamentally grasp the basic practical nature of the activity and to enable them to move on to critical consideration of its underlying philosophy, its practice and processes, and its ethos and outcomes.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

1. Describe the main features of audit theory and critically assess their relevance to audit practice.

2. Describe the evolving nature of audit and assurance practice and critically discuss the strengths and weaknesses of present-day audit practices.

3. Describe and critique the regulatory framework for the conduct of audit, and the monitoring and enforcement processes governing audit practice.

4. Recognise the professional and commercial pressures and challenges that face auditing and the provision of assurance services today and evaluate the profession's responses, across a range of issues including its response to problems of audit quality, the developing expectations of users, commercial complexity and technical change.

5. Describe and critically assess the basic features of the audit and assurance process, in financial and non-financial contexts, including planning, testing and evidence gathering, judgement and opinion formation, and reporting, and critically discuss the theoretical, practical and ethical challenges associated with maintaining effective audit practice.

6. Work effectively with others.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.