BUACC5935 – Auditing
Semester 2 2018
Contribution to overall assessment: 25%
Due Date: End of week ten
For many decades, practitioners and academics have struggled to find definitions for independence in the audit context. Perhaps the best known definition in the academic literature is that of De Angelo (1981, 186) ‘the conditional probability of reporting a discovered breach’. Others include: ‘the ability to resist client pressure’ (Knapp 1985); ‘an attitude/state of mind’ (Schuetze 1994); ‘a function of character with the integrity and trustworthiness being key’ (Magill and Previts 1991). More recent definitions contained in pronouncements from various representative bodies of the profession world-wide extend the definition of a state of mind, for example, ‘freedom from those pressures and other factors that compromise, or can reasonably be expected to compromise, an auditors’ ability to make unbiased audit decisions’ (Independence Standards Board (ISB) 2000).
In the text - Behind Closed Doors: What Company Audit is Really About (Beattie, Fernley and Brandt 2001) provides an analysis of six company case studies which show how accounting issues which arise during the audit process are resolved between audit engagement partners and finance directors From these cases, audit quality is shown to be an holistic activity in which issues of competence, independence in fact and audit risk are inextricably linked.
The restatement of the Enron accounts and the collapse of Andersen following the obstruction of justice finding against the firm (SEC 2002) shows the devastating effect of loss of confidence in the integrity of an audit firm. Despite the lack of knowledge about independence in fact, Enron severely compromised independence in appearance.
• From a search of the academic literature, discuss risk and independence with a view to understanding where key audit risks, and threats to auditor independence really lie. What is it exactly that undermines auditor independence.
• Review the literature on the failure of Enron, Worldcom and Lehman Bros and what lessons have been learnt by the accounting profession from these collapses.
Important: You must develop your viewpoint and not plagiarise another author’s language. The learning skills advisor at your library can assist you to develop your writing skills.
Guidance for your research.
• Important to find your own voice in the writing and not taking large cut and paste ideas from other sources.
• Around 2000 words maximum for your essay.
• The assignment is to comply with the University’s General Guide to Writing and Study Skills, General Guide to Referencing, and Assignment Layout and Appearance Guidelines.
• This is a group-assignment. Each group needs to have 2 or 3 members in it. Please organize yourselves into a group.
• Please make sure that names and ID names of all group members are stated on the cover sheet of your submission.
• 1.5 spacing in the writing.
• As this is a group assignment, each member of your group is awarded the same mark.
• Please submit your assignment through turnitin.
1 Weight - 25% with an expectation to score average of 70%
2 Group assignment [2/3 students per group]
3 Size 2000 words
4 Due by the end of week10
5 Follow a good structure
1 Introduction and background
2 Audit risk
3 Audit independence
4 Audit failures and lessons for accounting and auditing profession
5 Concluding comments
6 List of reference
Introduction and background
Auditing has a long history in both the public and private sector[ xxxxxx]
Audit failures and lessons for accounting and auditing profession
List of reference
• Ten textbooks
• Twenty published papers
• Five recent articles from general media
• Five reports from accounting bodies around the world
• Five auditing standards
• Reference from Corporations Act