The Role of the
Public Accountant in the
1-1 The “crisis of credibility” largely arose from the number of companies that restated their previously issued financial statements as a result of accounting irregularities and fraud. Especially responsible were the very visible Enron and WorldCom fraud cases. Both companies filed for bankruptcy and constituted the largest companies in American history to do so. The extent of the accounting irregularities and fraud being investigated and disclosed brought into question the effectiveness of financial statement audits. In addition, the criminal conviction of Arthur Andersen, LLP, one of the then Big 5 accounting firms, on charges of destroying documents related to the Enron case brought into question the ethical standards of the profession.
1-2 Assurance services are professional services that enhance the quality of information, or its context, for decision-making. The two types are: (a) those that increase the reliability of information and (b) those that involve putting information in a form or context that facilitates decision-making.
1-3 A financial statement audit is, by far, the most common type of attest engagement. The overall assertion, made by management, most frequently is that the financial statements follow generally accepted accounting principles.
1-4 A large corporation with securities listed on a stock exchange is required by the rules of the stock exchange and by the rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission to provide an audit report with the annual financial statements furnished to its stockholders. It also is required to engage the auditors to provide an opinion on its internal control. Apart from legal requirements, however, a large listed corporation recognizes that it must maintain investor confidence in the reliability of its financial statements and internal control over financial reporting if it is to continue to be able to