There is a paradigm shift in the pattern of the auditing question paper
of the professional competency course (PCC) compared to what it was in
the erstwhile professional education II (PE-II) course. Candidates are
required to answer all the questions as against six among the eight in
PE II.
‘True or false’ questions have been introduced. These cover a wide

range of topics and test the conceptual clarity of the candidates. The
students have to be careful as 20 marks are at stake and how well they
tackle this section can have a bearing on the overall result.

The focus continues to be on audit and assurance standards (AAS) and
company audit, with 57 marks earmarked to the two topics, at 38 and 19
respectively. Perhaps, this has been done keeping in mind the fact that
the candidates are writing the examinations after completing a certain
period of articled training.Thus, by the time they take the examination,
they would have (under normal circumstances) undergone considerable
amount of practicaltraining.

Question 1: Candidates have to answer 10 of the 12 ‘true or false’ questions — four of these are on AAS and six on company audit.

Question 2: This 20-mark question is on comments of the auditor with regard to AAS and it covers three different standards.

Question 3: This is on precautions to be taken in applying test
checks; a purely text-bookish question. The second part (Question
3(b)), on directors’ responsibility statement, might have taken the
candidates by surprise. Only those with practical experience could have
tackled this question comfortably.

Question 4: Part (a) of this question, on computer-aided audit

techniques, tests more the writing skills of the candidates. And part
(b), on differences between capital expenditure and deferred revenue
expenditure, would have lured many candidates, but the answer to the
question is not as simple as it appears.

Question 5: Divided into two parts, on inherent limitations of

internal control systems and special audit, this question would have
been handled easily by those used to rote learning.

Question 6: Part (a) of this question, on examining the income

and collections by an NGO, would have been a brain teaser. So is part
(b) of the query on AS 1, where there are about ten areas in which
different accounting policies may be encountered.

The candidates may, readily, have thought of depreciation and

valuation of inventories. And, at best, they may have recollected two
or three more. Going beyond six items at the PCC level is a tall order.

Question 7: This 10-mark question is on vouching/verification.

In the PE-II format, 16 marks were allotted to this topic. On the audit
procedures chapter, the opportunity to score marks has been reduced as
the paper has only a two-part question for five marks each as against
the usual four parts of four marks each. So is the case with Question 8
on short notes, where the marks allocated have been curtailed to 10
from the earlier 16.

The marks for certain topics, earlier considered to be the mainstay

of an auditing paper, such as EDP audit, government audit, audit of
specialised institutions such as educational institutions and hotels,
audit procedures of vouching and verification, have been reduced.

Overall, the question paper is balanced and has a wide coverage of

topics. Unless one is conceptually clear and has put in sufficient
amount of preparation for the examination, scoring high marks would be
difficult.

But those candidates who depended only on the study modules of the

ICAI and other academic publications would also have done
satisfactorily as a part of the paper is purely academic.

It is better the candidates adapt to the changed pattern and consider if their preparation methods warrant a change.

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