What is a 'Walk-Through Test'

A walk-through test is a procedure used during an audit of an entity's accounting system to gauge its reliability. A walk-though test traces a transaction step-by-step through the accounting system from its inception to the final disposition.

BREAKING DOWN 'Walk-Through Test'

A walk-though test is only one of many tests performed by auditors during their evaluation of an organization's accounting controls and risk management measures. The test can reveal system deficiencies and material weaknesses that would need to be rectified by the organization as soon as possible.

What Auditors Look For

In conducting a walk-through test, an auditor will study how a transaction is initiated and moves through a company or organization's accounting system to completion. This involves identifying how a transaction is authorized, recorded - manually, by automated means, or both - and then reported in the general ledger of the books. The auditor will want to know how controls for accuracy are applied at each step in the process and how follow-up steps are taken to improve controls.  

A good walk-through test will also document the personnel involved in transaction entries in the accounting system. Checklists and flowcharts are helpful in conducting thorough walk-through tests. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) recommends walk-through tests on an annual basis.

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