Tick-Marking the Tie Out
Tick-marking while performing a tie out is your way of tracking what you've validated and communicating results of your audit or review of a workpaper. The more thorough you are at tick-marking, the more your senior or manager will appreciate you.
Tick-marks are fairly standard, but they could vary from firm-to-firm. Here are the most common ones you will see and use during your audit days:
Ft - foots, without exception
If you checked the summation of a column or total and it's accurate then you place an "Ft" underneath
Cft - cross-foots, without exception
If you checked the summation horizontally (i.e. a row) and it's accurate, then you place a "Cft" to the right of it
Rx - recalculates, without exception
If you checked a calculation involving multiplication, division, percentages, or other formulas and it's accurate, then place an "Rx" by the formula
imm - immaterial variance, pass on further investigation
If you found an error or numerical difference that falls below the scope of materiality, which is determined during audit planning, then you may mark it with an "imm" an move on
/# - number is sent to another worksheet, paper, or tab
When you are "sending" a number or total from one workpaper to another to show it agrees (i.e. total interest per a debt amortization worksheet to the total interest on a debt summary rollforward), then you put a slash and respective reference number to the right of that number or total being referenced in another workpaper.
This is how you communicate through tick-marks that totals between a detail listing, summary schedule, trial balance, and financial statements agree.
#/ - number came from another worksheet, paper, or tab
Similar to above, except instead this format has the workpaper reference number on the left and slash on the right because this communicates that the number is being "received" from the other workpaper.
Letters (or Numbers) - document further explanations
As you go about your tie out, it's likely that you will come across errors or numbers that require additional explanation. In such cases, auditors generally use an A, B, C, etc. or a 1, 2, 3, etc. tick-mark, placed next to the number that requires further explanation, and the corresponding documentation is written in the bottom-left section of the workpaper.
Here is an example tickmark legend: