The Auditor and Fraud

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EXPLAIN THE RESPECTIVE ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF MANAGEMENT AND AUDITORS IN THE PREVENTION AND DETECTION OF FRAUD. The primary responsibility for fraud detection lies with management. This arises due to a contractual duty of care. Directors are able to discharge their duty toward prevention and detection of fraud and error in many ways, for example: * Complying with the Combined Code on Corporate Governance * Developing a code of conduct, monitoring compliance and taking action against breaches * Emphasising a strong commitment to fraud prevention. This involves establishing a culture of honesty and ethical behaviour within the organisation with clearly communicated policies. * Establishing an internal audit function

* Having an audit committee
The role of the auditor is with assessing the effectiveness of the internal controls. Auditors should appraise the risk of misstatements due to errors and fraud. The role of the auditor in the detection of fraud is appraised within case law, for example: Re Kingston Cotton Mill (1896) – An auditor “is a watchdog not a bloodhound”. According to Melville (2007), this judgement set the tone for the audit profession for a century. Auditors were to be passive checkers rather than be proactive in searching out errors, misstatements and fraud. This statement may no longer have the force it once did in the light of ISA 240 The Auditor’s Responsibility to Consider Fraud in an Audit of Financial Statements. Auditor’s are now expected to recognise at least the possibility that fraud may exist and, consequently, adopt an attitude of professional scepticism in their approach to audit work. Re Thomas Gerrard & Son (1968) highlighted the negligence of auditor in overlooking fraudulent activities committed by directors. Auditors relied on stock certificates given to them by the managing director, a person who they trusted. This was supported by the decision in Re Kingston Cotton Mill whereby an auditor is...
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