American Fuel & Supply Company Inc.
1. A major focus of the lawsuit Chevron Chemical filed against Touche Ross was the auditing profession’s rules regarding the “subsequent discovery of facts existing at the date of the auditor’s report”. Those rules distinguish between situations in which a client cooperates with the auditor in making all necessary disclosures and situations involving uncooperative clients. Briefly summarize the differing responsibilities that auditors have in those two sets of circumstances. Answer:
International Standard of Auditing (ISA) Section 560 Subsequent Events paragraph 15 defined that “Subsequent discovery of facts existing at the date of the auditor’s report” is where the condition when after the financial statements have been issued, the auditor becomes aware of a fact which existed at the date of the auditor’s report and which if known at that date, may have caused the auditor to modify the auditor’s report, the auditor should consider whether the financial statements need revision, should discuss the matter with management, and should take the action appropriate in the circumstances. The subsequent discovery of facts requiring the recall or re-issuance of financial statements does not arise from business events occurring after the date of auditor’s report. While a number of situations may apply, the most common situation is where the previously financial statements contain material misstatements due to either unintentional or intentional actions by management.
When facts are encountered that may affect the auditor’s previously issued report, the auditor should consult with his/her attorney because legal implications may be involved and actions taken by the auditor may involve confidential client-auditor communications. The auditor should determine whether the facts are reliable and whether they existed at the date of the audit report. The auditor should discuss the matter with an appropriate level of management and request cooperation in investigating the potential misstatement. (Messier, Jr., W., Glover, S. M. & Prawitt, D. F. 2008) If the auditor determines that the previously issued financial statements are in error and the audit report is affected, he/she should request that the client issue an immediate revision to the financial statements and auditor’s report. The reasons for the revisions should be described in the footnotes to the revised financial statement. (Messier, Jr., W., Glover, S. M. & Prawitt, D. F. 2008). ISA Section 560 paragraph 16 further explained the responsibilities of the auditors in the situation when a client cooperates with the auditor in making all necessary disclosures. It stated that when management revises the financial statements, the auditor would carry out the audit procedures necessary in the circumstances, would review the steps taken by management to ensure that anyone in receipt of the previously issued financial statements together with the auditor’s report thereon is informed of the situation and would issue a new report on the revised financial statements. ISA Section 560 paragraph 17 highlighted that the new auditor’s report should include an emphasis of a matter paragraph referring to a note to the financial statements that more extensively discusses the reason for the revision of the previously issued financial statements and to the earlier report issued by the auditor. The new auditor’s report would be dated not earlier than the date of approval of the revised financial statements. If the client refuses to cooperate and make the necessary disclosures, the auditor should notify the board of directors and take the following steps, if possible: * Notify the client that the auditor’s report must no longer be associated with the financial statements * Notify any regulatory agencies having jurisdiction over the client that the auditor’s report can no longer be relied upon. * Notify each person known to the auditor to be relying...
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