Mercia Internal Quality Control Procedures - January 2022



While Wilmington / Mercia is not a member firm or registered for audit work, as a company providing services to registered auditors it nevertheless ensures its employees and subcontractors comply with the IFAC ethical framework.

To do that, the company operates a number of quality control (QC) policies and processes over employees and technical work.




Personnel controls


Annual declarations

Employees / workers and subcontractors providing professional services are requested to complete an annual declaration which covers independence and fit and proper status. The process is overseen by a director and issues identified are dealt with.



Recruitment is led by a senior team of individuals and Wilmington’s internal recruitment team. Right to work in the UK, Professional Membership status and references are all checked.

The process is for two interviews to be undertaken prior to any job offer. Dependent on the position, this may or may not include some level of testing. Ideally the candidate will be interviewed by a mixture of people and potential grading although diary commitments does not always allow.

All roles are Interviewed for, and individual’s technical skills are tested.


Freelancers for Training

Where subcontractors are used, their contracts confirm that they will keep client information confidential. They are responsible for their own CPD and updating but their performance is regularly reviewed by review of feedback from courses and review of their material on an ad hoc basis.


Training for all AAC technical team members

All AAC technical team members are given the same opportunities for training. This is monitored by their line manager at monthly 121s, and half year and full year PDRs. The expectation is that everyone will take part in monthly technical meetings and other periodical technical gatherings.


Resources for all AAC technical team members

In addition to the above training, all team members have access to various external technical resources to ensure they are technically up to date. The team also share publications and consensus on technical matters through a Teams chat facility allowing for team members to ask questions and receive prompt replies by their peers.


Peer Review controls

Where a file is graded D, is going to a regulator or where there is a contention, it will be reviewed prior to it being sent to client. Marginal files (i.e. Grade C) are reviewing as part of a regular QC review across all reviewers.

Some large firms / networks may also trigger a hot review of their reports from time to time.

The hot reviewer will vary, depending on risk / complexity / commercial sensitivity, but will look for technical requirements, appropriateness of the grade, the language / explanation in the report and overall professionalism

The administrative proofreading is done by individuals who are employed or subcontract to Mercia. They are reviewing the report for typos, general sense in the report and places where answers have not been given. This is not a technical check. The proof-readers are experienced and bound by confidentiality requirements.

Confidential documents are exchanged internally and externally via a secure method. This might be SharePoint, OneDrive or our secure website. Documents are only shared with clients via email if the client demands this in writing.

Electronic client records (e.g. audit file backups) are kept in a secure location (e.g. encrypted laptop or secure cloud location) and deleted when no longer needed.

If records are sent to reviewers on paper, the reviewers commit to hold them securely and confidentially in the home offices. They are returned to clients via suitable insured and tracked couriers.


Technical Query (TQ) controls

TQ’s are allocated to a consultant based on availability and expertise. In certain cases (depending on where the query is from, if it is complex or risky or outside the persons expertise) the TQ’s will be reviewed by at least one of a team of senior consultants before going to the client.

TQ’s are reviewed on a cold basis at least twice a year to ensure the team are giving appropriate responses.


Training internal controls

The team maintains a tracker of technical changes. There are also trackers for certain specialist technical areas. This is available the whole technical team and is used by the product team going forward in order to ensure appropriate innovation.

The tracker is also used to stimulate conversation and provide an element of training for the team during the monthly team meetings.


CPD courses

Every year there are meetings to plan the topics for the following year. Any changes to the programme would also be discussed at monthly team meetings. The main meetings also confirm who is writing the course, who is reviewing the course, who is preparing the slides.

Notes are technically checked where there is major update and / or significant new content added. Minor updates, or material brought in from other Mercia sources are not necessarily reviewed as part of the notes.

The A&A quarterly notes are dealt with outside of the above meeting. The notes are written by an external expert and reviewed by a member of the team.


PW / student courses

The updates of the PW style courses are the responsibility of the relevant team lead. This team lead is kept up to date along with other team members.


Quality of presentations

Monthly review of feedback from delegates is captured electronically and reviewed by Mercia main board. QC checks by of lecturers and their actual lecturing will be performed over a year.


Publications internal controls

The tracker mentioned above is used to monitor what is new in the AAC sector and how that feeds into our products and services (eg. manuals / file reviews / historic ‘promote’ products). This tracker will also be used by the product team going forward in order to ensure appropriate innovation.

A roadmap is centrally held to highlight what could / should be considered in future updates. Some of this is longstanding and is low priority and dependent on resource capacity however other projects are more technical and significant in nature and are formulated from the AAC tracker.

All technical work on manuals is reviewed by a member of the AAC team. Where updates are highly technical and or significant to audit methodology and AML, the team lead will undertake the technical review or take over editor responsibilities. On some occasions, it may be necessary to have a wider pool of reviewers and this may include other team leads within the AAC team and / or the Head of AAC plus others.

For audit methodology, the products have been mapped back to the ISAs (UK) and ES (or other relevant standards for specialist areas). Mercia keeps a record of the maps.

We do not routinely provide these mapping documents to clients on the premise that they contain our IP. We do provide copies to regulators if requested so they can access as part of a central function, however duty of care needs and confidentiality clauses need to be considered and obtained.

Where the Mercia methodology / compliance products is provided to a paperless provider, the content within the different paperless platforms is the responsibility of the paperless providers. However there is a clear reputational risk associated with an inferior methodology being used by a paperless provider which has the Mercia name associated to it, therefore a member of the Manuals team has specialised in the paperless arena and has responsibility for making sure the Mercia content is shown properly in the paperless product.

A spreadsheet is maintained by Mercia highlighting where each product is in relation to updates and thus what is still outstanding by each paperless provider.


Web articles /blogs - AAC

All web articles / blogs are written by the AAC team and reviewed by another team member. Team Lead – Manuals writes or oversees the Vision newsletter and promote products technical content.