Ownership and Custody of Working Papers
Working papers are those papers which contain essential facts about accounts so that the auditor may not have again to go over the accounts of his clients in case he wants to refer to them later on during the course of his audit.
Working papers belong to the auditor. The auditor’s ownership rights, however, are subject to constraints imposed by the auditor’s own profession. Rule 301 of the AICPA’S Code of Professional Conduct stipulates that a CPA shall not disclose any confidential information obtained during the course of a professional engagement, without the consent of the client, except for certain circumstances as stated in the rule.
Custody of the working papers rests with the auditor and he or she is responsible for their safekeeping. Working papers include in the permanent file are retained indefinitely. Current working papers should be retained for as long as they are useful to the auditor in servicing a client or are needed to satisfy legal requirements for record retention. The statute of limitations rarely extends beyond 6 years.