The Role of Auditors in Fraus Detection

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JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT VOLUME 8 NO 1, JUNE, 2010

THE ROLE OF AUDITORS IN FRAUD DETECTION, PREVENTION AND REPORTING IN NIGERIA Akinyomi Oladele John
Department of Financial Studies, Redeemer’s University, Mowe E-mail: delejohn21@yahoo.com
 
Abstract
This study investigates the role of auditors in the detection, prevention and reporting of fraud. Data were obtained from 184 respondents in Nigeria. The findings revealed that the respondents are very concerned about the problem of fraud. In addition, the respondents placed very high expectation on auditors’ duties on fraud prevention and detection. This perception is in contrast with the stated primary objective of an audit, as stipulated in ISA 200, which merely required auditors to form an opinion on the financial statements, but not of fraud detection. Keywords: Auditors, fraud, detection, prevention  

Introduction
That an auditor has the responsibility for the prevention, detection and reporting of fraud, other illegal acts and errors is one of the most controversial issues in auditing, and has been one of the most frequently debated areas amongst auditors, politicians, media, regulators and the public (Gay et al 1997). This debate has been especially highlighted by the collapse of both small and big corporations across the globe. The auditing profession in Nigeria has caught the media’s attention following financial scandals in some of the Nigerian banks such as Intercontinental Bank, Oceanic Bank, Afribank, and Bank PHB among others. There seems presently to be a misconception that auditors’ duties are largely the preventing, detecting and reporting of fraud, for example, Idris (2009). The aim of this paper is to identify financial report users’ perceptions of the extent of fraud in Nigeria, and to determine their perceptions of the auditor’s responsibilities in detecting fraud and the performance of related audit procedures. The paper also aims to ascertain whether the report users’ perceptions of auditors’ responsibilities on fraud are consistent with those of the auditing profession as expressed in auditing standards in Nigeria. Literature review

Fraud
    Fraud, according to Adeniji (2004:354) and ICAN (2006:206), is an intentional act by one or more individuals among management, employees or third parties, which results in a misrepresentation of financial statements. Fraud can also be seen as the intentional misrepresentation, concealment, or omission of the truth for the purpose of deception/manipulation to the financial detriment of an individual or an organization which also includes embezzlement, theft or any attempt to steal or unlawfully obtain, misuse or harm the asset of the organization, (Adeduro, 1998 and, Bostley and Drover 1972). Fraud has increased considerably over the recent years and professionals believe this trend is likely to continue. According to Brink and Witt (1982), fraud is an ever present threat to the effective utilization of resources and it will always be an important concern of management. ISA 240 ‘The Auditor’s Responsibilities to Consider Fraud in an Audit of Financial Statement (Revised)’ refers to fraud as “an intentional act by one or more individuals among management, those charged with governance, employees or third parties, involving the use of deception to obtain an unjust or illegal advantage”. Aderibigbe and Dada (2007) define fraud as a deliberate deceit planned and executed with the intent to deprive another person of his property or rights directly or indirectly, regardless of whether the perpetrator benefits from his/her actions. Weirich and Reinstein (2000 cited in Allyne & Howard 2005), define fraud as “intentional deception, cheating and stealing”. Some common types of fraud include creating fictitious creditors, “ghosts” on the payroll, falsifying cash sales, undeclared stock, making unauthorized “write-offs”, and claiming excessive or never-incurred...
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