Auditing & Assurance: Professional Competence Essay

Question:

Discuss about the Auditing & Assurance for Professional Competence.

Answer:

Introduction

As per the regulations of Accountants Code of Ethics, Peter Harmon cannot be said to have been violated the ethical principles. Code of ethics B under section 240- 241, states that the professional accountant in public practice may receive or pay referral fee or commission provided it does not create self- interest threat to the ethical principle of objectivity, professional competence and due care. Ethical principle on professional competence and due care provides the accountants to maintain the knowledge and skill at professional level to provide competent services and to act diligently for the professional clients (Chawla et al. 2015). In the present case, receipt of 10% commission as referral fee does not violate any ethical principle under the Code of Ethics.

In the present case, David Smith violated the ethical principle of Confidentiality since he referred ten clients to the Allied Insurance Company without their knowledge. According to the code of ethics, confidentiality ethical principle requires the professional auditor to keep the information of clients private and confidential (Brouard et al. 2016). It is against the regulations of ethical codes if an auditor discloses the client information to any third parties without considering the authority to do so.Apart from that, ethical principle on professional behaviour has also been violated by David Smith because he did not comply the relevant regulations to avoid the professional discredits. Hence, David Smith would be held for professional misconduct under the APES 110 Accountants Code of Ethics and Principles.

APES 110 on Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants provide conceptual framework and principles for objectivity, integrity, confidentiality, professional competence and due care and professional behaviour. In the present case, Wrench & company, Chartered Accountants maintain clients’ details in the computer records and allow them to use as per their requirement. Further, it has been mentioned that the company arranges the input data for its audit branch for the same clients and considered the involvement of staff from the audit section for the purpose of audit of clients as per the requirements of audit partners (Zaman Groff, Slapni?ar and ?tumberger 2015). The company said to have violated the ethics on professional objectivity and professional competence and due care. A staff in the audit team cannot be involved for audit procedures to meet the requirements of audit partners as professional auditor is only eligible to conduct audit of clients.

According to the conceptual framework and code of ethics for professional accountants, it is unethical to make unsolicited approaches to the parties or clients whether by person or by any other electronic mode. In the given case, Stephanie Barry sends her firm’s literature with respect to the management services capabilities to its client Williams based on the monthly unsolicited approach. Accordingly, it has been analysed that Barry has violated the principle ethics on integrity and professional behaviour because unsolicited approach leads to publicity of the professional firm and capabilities and such action is against the code of ethics (Abed 2016). Therefore, Stephanie Barry would be held for professional misconduct under APES 110 on Accountants Code of Ethics.

As per the regulations on Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants, an auditor cannot be an employee or member at any position of the audit company. The auditor of the company is required to be independent and should not be involved in the organizational business activities or any business decisions. Katrina Ng, in the present situation is an audit manager of an entity as well as an honorary member of Board of Directors. As per the professional ethics, involvement of auditor affects the auditor independence, confidentiality and professional competence (Khelil et al. 2016). Involvement as an honorary member in the audit company may influence the auditor independence on performing audit procedures and forming unbiased audit opinion. Therefore, Katrina has violated the ethical principles by joining the honorary position in the board members of the audit entity.


Professional Accounting involves four types of services i.e. auditing and assurance, tax advisory services, general business advisory services and consultancy. In the given situation, Peter Beattie, public accountant, delivers tax advisory services along with the management, book keeping and auditing services for the same client. All the services mentioned falls under the meaning and types of services that a professional accountant is eligible to deliver by maintaining code of ethics (Svanberg and ?hman 2016). Therefore, Peter Beattie cannot be said to have violated any ethical principles and conceptual framework as per APES 110 on Accountants Code of Ethics.

Accountants Code of Ethics under APES 110 provides that the professional accountants or auditors must not advertise their work as well as they must not involve in any inaccurate publicity. Accordingly, comparison on the professional capabilities along with the other professional audit firms against the regulations of professional ethics and principles. Taking up the advertisement in the local newspaper along with the colourful pictures of the staff and comparison with other professionals is against the ethics of integrity and professional behaviour (Shafer, Simmons and Yip 2016). The Hornsby Auditors entered into inappropriate publicity to obtain the clients by comparing other professionals with respect to get higher tax deductions. Accordingly, Hornsby Auditorscan be said to have violated the ethics of integrity and professional behaviour as per APES 110.

As per the regulations on Code of Ethics for professional accountant, if there is a default in the payment of audit fees, then the auditor is permitted to retain the client books and documents on exercising a claim. As David Cheadle had not been paid the audit fees by Nestree Ltd for the audit during the year ended 30 June 2015, he can retain the organisation’s accounting books and other documents and is entitled to form claim against the dues. Such action would not be against the regulations of code of ethics under APES 110 (Svanberg and ?hman 2016). Further, David can continue the audit process for the subsequent year 2016 and is allowed to retain the books and documents.

The present case provides the inability of the auditor to obtain the confirmations from three major customers of the audit clients included in the sample. Further, the auditor satisfied himself for the account balances used in other audit procedures. In this situation, audit is not able to obtain third party confirmations from the client’s major customers however; there is no information on the identification of misrepresentations. Accordingly, the auditor should provide audit opinion as unmodified- emphasis of matter paragraph in the audit report of the client’s financial statements (Huang, Lin and Raghunandan 2015). This opinion shall be provided because there is no misrepresentation or non- compliance of GAAP has been reflected but the confirmation from third party could not be obtained. Therefore, the auditor should highlight the fact in the matter paragraph to draw the attention of the users since; the confirmation could not be obtained from the major customers.


During audit procedures, if the audit is not able to complete the true and precise audit report due to lack of proper financial records as well as restrictions or limitations on the scope of audit evidence, then the auditor provides “disclaimer of opinion”. In the given situation, the client of the auditor restricted from verification of property, plant and equipment, which forms a material part of total assets i.e. around 20% of the total assets. Property, plant and equipment is considered as an integral part of organisation’s total assets hence it is essential to make proper verification for the purpose of analyzing true and fair view (Bhattacharjee, Maletta and Moreno 2015). Since, the client restricted the audit to verify the part of fixed asset, auditor should provide disclaimer of opinion.

In case there is limitation on the scope of audit evidence by the organisational management and governance then the auditor provides disclaimer of opinion in the audit report since, the auditor could not provide correct audit report. On the contrary, unmodified opinion- emphasis of matter paragraph is provided when the auditor finds the presentation of financial information is in compliance with GAAP and there is no misrepresentation but certain information could not be obtained (Chen et al. 2016). Accordingly, in the present situation, exclusion of contingent liability disclosure from the financial report requires the auditor to provide unmodified- emphasis of matter paragraph. Besides, if the same if actual liability, it would affect the financial report materiality and auditor provides disclaimer of opinion since there has been limitation on the scope of audit.

Adverse opinion in the audit report is provided when the organisational financial records have not been prepared in compliance with the regulations of GAAP. Further, he auditor establishes that the financial records of the organisations presents gross misrepresentations due to error or fraud in recognising and representing financial information (Vichitsarawong and Pornupatham 2015). In the present case, it is mentioned that the significant proportion of sales of the retailer are based on cash and there is no appropriate records have been maintained. Further, in order to determine the accuracy of the cash sales no audit tests can be performed. Hence, auditor would provide adverse opinion since there is misrepresentation of audit report due to error in recording financial information.

According to the standards on auditing, it is essential to examine and verify the opening balances of accounts at the start of financial year. Based on the correctness and appropriate recognition of the previous financial year balances, the auditor performs the current year’s audit procedures and presents appropriate audit opinion (Gallizo and Saladrigues 2016). In the given case, the new client refused to provide information on the opening balances of the accounts even if the current year’s financial information appears to be free from material misstatements. Since, there is a limitation on obtaining the financial information on opening balance of the accounts for audit during the current year, therefore the auditor provides disclaimer of opinion.


For the purpose of preparing and presenting the financial report, it is essential to follow the principles and regulations of Australian Accounting Standards as well as the requirements of GAAP. It is the responsibility of organisational management to present the financial statement in compliance with the regulations of Australian Auditing Standards (Vichitsarawong and Pornupatham 2015). In case the auditor finds that the financial statements have not been prepared in conformance to the Australian Accounting Standards and GAAP then the auditor provides adverse opinion. Therefore, in the present case adverse opinion should be provided since, the organization has not complied the regulations of Australian Auditing Standards since five years.

During the audit procedures, if the auditor finds that the financial records of the organization has not been prepared in compliance with the Australian Auditing Standards and the result has material effect on the true and fairness of the financial statements, then auditor provides adverse opinion (Huang, Lin and Raghunandan 2015). In the present situation, audit client used LIFO method for the accounting of inventory that is not allowed as per the Australian Auditing Standards and the same had affected the materiality of financial statements on the value of inventory. Since the value of inventory involves a significant part on the organisational total assets, the auditor should provide adverse opinion for misrepresentation in the financial report.

The responsibility of the management is to measure the ability of the organisation to prepare the financial statements based on the going concern framework while the auditor is responsible to determine the appropriateness of going concern assumption as per ISA 570. Accordingly, if the auditor finds substantial doubt on the organisation’s ability to maintain as a going concern, the auditor should provide an “explanatory paragraph followed by the opinion paragraph” (Chen et al. 2016). Similarly, in the present case, the auditor has detected no material misstatements but there has been substantial doubt on its continuation as going concern. Therefore, the auditor provides modified opinion and includes the explanatory paragraph highlighting reasons that affect the going concern basis as well as stating the liquidation of the company’s major customers.

Reference List

Abed, R., 2016. Investigating the Effect of Professional Ethics Indicators on Financial Performance of Companies, Case study: Tehran Stock Exchange. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 7(3 S2), p.183.

Bhattacharjee, S., Maletta, M.J. and Moreno, K.K., 2015. The Role of Account Subjectivity and Risk of Material Misstatement on Auditors' Internal Audit Reliance Judgments. Accounting Horizons, 30(2), pp.225-238.

Brouard, F., Bujaki, M., Durocher, S. and Neilson, L.C., 2016. Professional Accountants’ Identity Formation: An Integrative Framework. Journal of Business Ethics, pp.1-14.

Chawla, S.K., Khan, Z.U., Jackson, R.E. and Gray, A.W., 2015. Evaluating Ethics Education for Accounting Students. Management Accounting Quarterly, 16(2), p.16.

Chen, F., Lam, K., Smieliauskas, W. and Ye, M., 2016. Auditor Conservatism and Banks' Measurement Uncertainty during the Financial Crisis. International Journal of Auditing, 20(1), pp.52-65.

Gallizo, J.L. and Saladrigues, R., 2016. An analysis of determinants of going concern audit opinion: Evidence from Spain stock exchange. Intangible Capital, 12(1), pp.1-16.

Huang, H.W., Lin, S. and Raghunandan, K., 2015. The Volatility of Other Comprehensive Income and Audit Fees. Accounting Horizons, 30(2), pp.195-210.

Khelil, I., Khelil, I., Hussainey, K., Hussainey, K., Noubbigh, H. and Noubbigh, H., 2016. Audit committee–internal audit interaction and moral courage. Managerial Auditing Journal, 31(4/5), pp.403-433.

Shafer, W.E., Simmons, R.S. and Yip, R.W., 2016. Social responsibility, professional commitment and tax fraud. Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, 29(1), pp.111-134.

Svanberg, J. and ?hman, P., 2016. Does Ethical Culture in Audit Firms Support Auditor Objectivity?. Accounting in Europe, 13(1), pp.65-79.

Vichitsarawong, T. and Pornupatham, S., 2015. Do audit opinions reflect earnings persistence?. Managerial Auditing Journal, 30(3), pp.244-276.

Zaman Groff, M., Slapni?ar, S. and ?tumberger, N., 2015. The influence of professional qualification on customer perceptions of accounting services quality and retention decisions. Journal of Business Economics and Management, 16(4), pp.753-768.

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