Sunday, October 28, 2012

Implications of the Auditing Standards

Both SAS 99 and ISA 240 provide guidance to financial auditors to consider fraud in the audit of financial statement.  Within the Rule-Based, Sarbanes-Oxley environment in the USA, it is mandatory for auditors to include the proposed guidance into their audit planning.  For IFAC’s Principle-Based standards, auditors are to use the guidelines to provide reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free from risks.  There are nevertheless, several other implications of the standards on auditors. Firstly, it is important to note that both standards (SAS 99 and ISA 240) provide guidance to auditors in fulfilling their responsibility, as it relates to fraud, in an audit of financial statements.  Technically, both standards are only applicable to financial statement audits.  However, concepts and guidance are appropriate for other types of audits. Secondly, the standards ensure that “the auditor has a responsibility to plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether caused by error or fraud.”  Although even in a properly planned and performed audit, auditor may not be able to detect a material misstatement resulting from fraud, the standards can only provide reasonable assurance and not absolute assuranceThirdly, it is the management’s responsibility to design and implement anti-fraud programs and internal control system to prevent, deter, and detect fraud.  Such responsibility may include “setting the proper tone from the top”; creating and maintaining a culture of honesty and ethics; and establishing appropriate control mechanisms to prevent and detect fraud in organizations.