December 2000

The Auditor’s Sas Field Guide

By Dan M. Guy and Douglas R. Carmichael
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., $24.95 (ISBN: 0471360546)
Reviewed by Vincent J. Love, CPA

These two well-known and respected educators and auditing theorists have given the profession another powerful and unique tool to help auditors comply with professional standards. The Auditor’s SAS Field Guide is an extraordinarily concise but comprehensive, authoritative, and readable compendium of the auditing standards that should, when properly used, reduce the instances of audit failure.

This book is a must-have for every auditing professional. Lawyers who deal with auditors and auditing issues, financial executives, and members of boards of directors and audit committees will also find the field guide very helpful.

The book’s primary assets are its convenient size, comprehensiveness, readability, and quick-reference format. This is the second year the guide has been in existence and, because of its utility, it should eventually become a staple in the auditing profession. According to the publisher, necessary updates will be available from

The book’s “pocket” size—designed to fit easily inside a jacket, handbag, attaché case, or audit trunk—should not fool auditors: The book is a highly concentrated version of Wiley’s Practitioner’s Guide to GAAS and contains information on each SAS. Its compactness makes this a very practical audit tool that can be used at the client’s location or wherever the auditor happens to be when research is called for.

Although it does not replace the occasional need to consult the standards themselves or to refer to the larger, more detailed guides that are available, this book will help the practitioner quickly focus on auditing issues and what is necessary for GAAS compliance. It also can serve as a quick and understandable review of the standards.

The book’s chapters coincide with the AICPA Professional Standards publication issued each June 1. Within each chapter, the authors reference the original pronouncement, give the effective date of the relevant SAS, and explain the applicability of the chapter to specific types of engagements (e.g., audit, agreed-upon procedures) Each chapter also includes a concise synopsis of the fundamental requirements of the standard and a practical discussion of the audit requirements. At the end of each chapter is a listing of any relevant interpretations that have been issued.

While the entire book is applicable to any audit engagement, the most helpful sections to the field auditor are Audit Risk and Materiality in Conducting an Audit (AU section 312), Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit (AU section 316), Evidential Matter (AU section 326), Related Parties (AU section 334), and Audit Sampling (AU section 350).

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