History of Auditing - English Exchequer

History of Accounting > History of Auditing > English Exchequer

The Exchequer’s Pipe Rolls
The same system of check by means of separate records was also employed in the accounting of the English Exchequer and of the Royal Wardrobe. At the Exchequer the great roll was compiled from the dictation of the Treasurer, a second roll was written out by the Chancellor’s clerk, and in the early days of the Exchequer a third roll was kept by a special representative of the king. These rolls were independently kept records which had to agree in every respect, every leaf and page of the one corresponding to the leaves and pages of the other; thus ensuring a complete check at the close of the year. At the audit, every discrepancy between the rolls was adjusted and settled, ” pb*,” probatum, being added to the item as finally adjusted. Two of the similar rolls kept for the Wardrobe are thus described: “They correspond, as required by the rule derived from the Exchequer, leaf to leaf, page to page, almost line to line. The ” probatum,” the mark of audit, has been affixed to the sum of eveiy page, and to the sum of every leaf on its second page, and in some cases, where the sum has been apparently corrected by a second audit, a second mark is affixed to the finally stated sum. The rolls are neither a copy of the other, but separately kept Accounts for the year, brought on the expiration of the year into agreement in the manner described.”

The Exchequer Method
In addition to this system of check on the Exchequer officials, the method of accounting with the sheriffs, which we have already described, was a carefully conducted audit in the modern sense of the word. This audit insured that the crown revenue was duly accounted for by the sheriff, and provided for the examination of vouchers for all his expenditure.

In the early days of the Exchequer the accounts, or some of them, appear to have been audited either by some of the justices or barons or by clerks or others to whom the duty was delegated. Later, there were special officials called Auditor-es Compotorum Scaccarii? From the reign of Henry III. the officer in charge of the receipt and issue rolls was called the clerk of the pells, and the intromissions of this official were checked by the auditor of the Receipt, who recorded the receipts and issues in duplicate. There were also auditors of foreign accounts—” foreign ” revenue being revenue from every source not included in the Pipe Roll.

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