PROJECT TOPIC AN ANALYSIS OF THE PROFESSIONAL RISK OF AN AUDITOR IN THE DISCHARGE OF HIS DUTIES. A CASE STUDY ON SELECTED FIRMS OF LICENSED AUDIT FIRMS IN GOOD STANDING AS AT DECEMBER 2017.
PRESENTED BYBENJAMIN BOAKYE 215028961ISAAC OTU ODEI OBENG 216021766REUBEN MADZI 215030591COLLINS TETTEH K. ODONKOR 215008480ABDUL RAHIM MUJTABAH 215029992 A PROJECT WORK SUBMITTED TO THE GREENHILL COLLEGE IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE AWARD OF BACHELORS DEGREE IN ACCOUNTING APRIL, 2018 DECLARATION We hereby affirm that this long essay is the outcome of our own work and that no part of it has been presented for a degree in this institution or somewhere else. NAME ID NUMBER SIGNATURE DATE BENJAMIN BOAKYE .
- Thesis Statement
- Structure and Outline
- Voice and Grammar
. .. ISAAC OTU ODEI OBENG .
…. REUBEN MADZI ..
…. COLLINS TETTEH K. ODONKOR ..
.. .. ABDUL RAHIM MUJTABAH ..
. CERTIFICATION I hereby declare that the preparation and presentation of this project work was supervised in accordance with the guidelines on supervision of project work laid down by the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration- GIMPA. Certified by .. MR. ELVIS AARON AMENYITOR (SUPERVISOR) DEDICATION We dedicate this project to God Almighty and to all our family and friends who helped in making the project a successful one and not forgetting the immense contribution from the group members.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT We first of all like to thank The Almighty God for His Mercies, His Guidance and His Strength that he has bestowed upon us to go through this research work successfully. We also owe our deepest gratitude to our Supervisor Mr. Elvis Aaron Amenyitor for his support and guidance from the start to the completion of the research work. God bless you.Lastly special thanks to Greenhill College for her excellent teachings and assistance which has gotten us this far. Thank you. LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS GAS Ghana Audit Service AFROSAI African Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions ICAG Institute of Chartered Accountants-Ghana ABWA Accountancy Bodies in West Africa IFAC International Federation of Accountants CAATs Computer Assisted Audit Tools AGM Annual General Meeting ASB Auditing Standard Board ISA International Standards on Auditing IFRS International Financial Reporting Standards ABSTRACT This research was conducted to identify the analysis of the professional risk of an auditor in the discharge of their duties. The theoretical framework focused on the risk auditors faced in the discharge of their duties.
The study focused on definitions and concepts, evolution of auditing, the history of auditing in Ghana involving the Ghana Audit Service (GAS) and the institute of Chartered Accountants- Ghana (ICAG). In order to understand the research, the setting was limited to Ghana and due to available resources in Accra. The study focused on existing empirical literature of auditing both locally and foreign. The population involving all audit firms in Ghana, in good standing as at 2017, taking from the websites of the institute of chartered accountants Ghana. The purposive sampling was used to select the respondents for the semi structured interview conducted. The interview resulted in the discussion to ascertain more information on the analysis of the professional risk of an auditor in the discharge of their duties. The data was analyzed using the thematic analysis, whereby certain response patterns were group under themes.
Finally, it is recommended that auditors have a risk management approach in order to control the various categories of risk and also, employ technology to as efficient and effective as possible and keep the standards on auditing when dealing with their clients. TABLE OF CONTENTS Contents TOC o 1-3 h z u HYPERLINK l _Toc511917963 DECLARATION PAGEREF _Toc511917963 h ii HYPERLINK l _Toc511917964 CERTIFICATION PAGEREF _Toc511917964 h iii HYPERLINK l _Toc511917965 DEDICATION PAGEREF _Toc511917965 h iv HYPERLINK l _Toc511917966 ACKNOWLEDGEMENT PAGEREF _Toc511917966 h v HYPERLINK l _Toc511917967 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS PAGEREF _Toc511917967 h vi HYPERLINK l _Toc511917968 ABSTRACT PAGEREF _Toc511917968 h vii HYPERLINK l _Toc511917969 TABLE OF CONTENTS PAGEREF _Toc511917969 h viii HYPERLINK l _Toc511917970 CHAPTER ONE PAGEREF _Toc511917970 h 1 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917971 INTRODUCTION PAGEREF _Toc511917971 h 1 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917972 1.1 Background PAGEREF _Toc511917972 h 1 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917973 1.
2 History of Auditing PAGEREF _Toc511917973 h 2 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917974 1.3 The History of Auditing in Ghana PAGEREF _Toc511917974 h 4 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917975 1.4 The History of Institute of Chartered Accountant-Ghana PAGEREF _Toc511917975 h 6 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917976 1.
5 Problem Statement PAGEREF _Toc511917976 h 7 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917977 1.6 Research Objectives PAGEREF _Toc511917977 h 8 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917978 1.7 Research Questions PAGEREF _Toc511917978 h 8 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917979 1.
8 Significance and Relevance of the Research PAGEREF _Toc511917979 h 9 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917980 1.9 Limitation of the Study PAGEREF _Toc511917980 h 9 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917981 1.10 Research Methodology PAGEREF _Toc511917981 h 10 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917982 CHAPTER 2 PAGEREF _Toc511917982 h 11 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917983 THE LITERATURE REVIEW PAGEREF _Toc511917983 h 11 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917984 2.1 Introduction PAGEREF _Toc511917984 h 11 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917985 2.2 Problems Faced by Auditors PAGEREF _Toc511917985 h 12 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917986 2.3 Challenges Facing Modern Auditors PAGEREF _Toc511917986 h 13 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917987 2.
4 Liability of An Auditor PAGEREF _Toc511917987 h 15 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917988 2.5 Risk Assessment PAGEREF _Toc511917988 h 16 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917989 2.6 Audit Fees a Challenge for Auditors PAGEREF _Toc511917989 h 17 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917990 2.7 How Financial Auditors Use Caats PAGEREF _Toc511917990 h 18 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917991 2.8 Computer Assisted Audit Techniques PAGEREF _Toc511917991 h 19 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917992 2.9 Threats To Auditors Independence PAGEREF _Toc511917992 h 20 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917993 2.10 Auditing Standard Benefits PAGEREF _Toc511917993 h 21 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917994 2.11 Impact of Technology on Auditing PAGEREF _Toc511917994 h 22 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917995 2.
12 The Impact of Control Risk and Business Risk On Sample Evidence Evaluation PAGEREF _Toc511917995 h 23 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917996 2.13 Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc511917996 h 25 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917997 CHAPTER 3 PAGEREF _Toc511917997 h 26 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917998 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY PAGEREF _Toc511917998 h 26 HYPERLINK l _Toc511917999 3.1 Introduction PAGEREF _Toc511917999 h 26 HYPERLINK l _Toc511918000 3.2 Research Design PAGEREF _Toc511918000 h 27 HYPERLINK l _Toc511918001 3.3 Interview Questions Design PAGEREF _Toc511918001 h 27 HYPERLINK l _Toc511918002 3.4 Sampling Techniques PAGEREF _Toc511918002 h 28 HYPERLINK l _Toc511918003 3.
5 Validity and Reliability PAGEREF _Toc511918003 h 28 HYPERLINK l _Toc511918004 3.6 Method of Data Analysis PAGEREF _Toc511918004 h 28 HYPERLINK l _Toc511918005 3.7 Research Ethics PAGEREF _Toc511918005 h 29 HYPERLINK l _Toc511918006 CHAPTER 4 PAGEREF _Toc511918006 h 30 HYPERLINK l _Toc511918007 PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF DATA PAGEREF _Toc511918007 h 30 HYPERLINK l _Toc511918008 4.1 Introduction PAGEREF _Toc511918008 h 30 HYPERLINK l _Toc511918009 4.3 Data Interpretation PAGEREF _Toc511918009 h 40 HYPERLINK l _Toc511918010 CHAPTER 5 PAGEREF _Toc511918010 h 42 HYPERLINK l _Toc511918011 FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS PAGEREF _Toc511918011 h 42 HYPERLINK l _Toc511918012 5.1 Introduction PAGEREF _Toc511918012 h 42 HYPERLINK l _Toc511918013 5.2 Summary of findings PAGEREF _Toc511918013 h 42 HYPERLINK l _Toc511918014 5.
3 Conclusion PAGEREF _Toc511918014 h 44 HYPERLINK l _Toc511918015 5.4 Recommendations PAGEREF _Toc511918015 h 45 HYPERLINK l _Toc511918016 REFERENCES PAGEREF _Toc511918016 h 46 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background One of the most far reaching consequences of the Industrial Revolution was the introduction of the limited liability company. The first such was registered at Companies House in 1856 and this, in essence, signaled the final, formal, split between ownership and control. Prior to the Companies Act 1856 many ventures had been financed through the medium of the joint stock company- such as the Hudsons Bay Company formed in 1670 and the East India Company in1600 whereby a group of investors financed a venture using a joint stock company managed by an elected board of directors. However, to do this required a Royal Charter or an act of Parliament. The great advantage of using these companies was limited liability, the great disadvantage being the cost and the ponderous process of setting them up, only the wealthy could afford to do this. The right of anyone to set up a company with limited liability, was introduced in 1856, signified the creation of the modern company.
The law and regulations which have grown up around it to regulate its actions and the actions of its members and managers stem from these nineteenth-century origins. Whilst the modern company came into being in 1856, the audit profession came somewhat later, it was not until the Companies Act 1900 that an obligation to produce annual accounts was placed on the directors of companies. The origin of auditing goes back to times less remote than that of accounting. Whenever the advancement of civilization brought about the necessity of one man being entrusted to some extent with property of another, the advisability of some kind of check upon the fidelity of the former would become apparent. The problem which has always existed when managers report to owners is, can the owners believe the report The report may contain errors and not disclose fraud, be deliberately misleading, may not be in conformity with the necessary standard regulations and may also fail to capture relevant information. The solution to this problem of trustworthiness and reliability in reports and accounts lies in appointing impartial professionals called auditors to investigate the report and express their opinions on their findings to the owners of the business and possibly other users of the financial reports such as the government regulators and the potential investors who rely on these reports presented by the managers to make informed business and economic decisions. Alan Millichamp, John R. Taylor.
2008. 1.2 History of Auditing The evolution of auditing is a complicated history that has been changing through historical events. Auditing always changed to meet the needs of the business environment of that day.
Auditing has been around since the beginning of human civilization, focusing mainly, at first, on finding fraud and was done through extensive detailed examination from ancient times until the late nineteenth century (Lee 1988). As the United States grew, the business world grew, and auditing began to play more important roles. In the late 1880s and early 1900s, people began to invest money into large corporations. The stock market crash of 1929 and various scandals made auditors realize their roles in the society was very important.
The auditors job became more difficult as the accounting principles changed, and became easier with the use of internal controls. These controls introduced the need for testing, not an in-depth detailed testing. Auditing jobs would have to change to meet the changing business world. Auditing has been the backbone of the complicated business world and has always changed with the times.
Fraud was a great concern during the early history of auditing because internal controls were not effectively used. The late 19th century was a turning point in auditing history when laws like the English Companies Act of 1862 were enacted. The English Companies Act was a general acceptance of the need for an independent review of accounts for large and small enterprises.
This Act showed that there was a great demand for specialized-trained professionals to perform these reviews reliably and independently. The text by William Jackson, In the True Form of Debtor and Creditor, written in 1823 discussed the need for an orderly and standardized system of accounting. Accurate reporting and the prevention of fraud would result through the use of an orderly and standardized system of accounting. Auditing in the late 19th century involved a complete review of transactions and the preparation of the corrected accounts and financial statements. This was obviously an inefficient and expensive way to perform an audit. England and the United States saw the need to make an audit more efficient and less expensive. Around 1895, the technique of sampling came. The main objectives of auditing in the United States were to obtain accurate financial conditions and earnings of an enterprise and secondly, to detect fraud and errors.
Auditors in the 1900s primarily used to submit a certified balance sheet to obtain credit from the banks. Bankers were no longer loaning money based on good character, but now focused on the definite knowledge of the financial affairs of the borrowers. Large life insurance companies also began using independent public accountants to certify published statements since the Hughes investigation of 1905. Then came the evolution of computers which somewhat made the job of auditors easier and sometimes difficult but it has since been adopted in almost every profession and also in the job of auditors. (Staub, 1942). 1.3 The History of Auditing in Ghana In 1910, the Ghana Audit Service (GAS) was created in London as a colonial audit department.
Originally called the Gold Coast Audit Department, it later became known as the Auditor Generals department. The 1969 constitution of Ghana extended financial and administrative autonomy to the agency, and the 1972 Audit Service Decree established it as the GAS and strengthened its independence by establishing a seven-member Audit Service Board as its governing body. The board consists of the chairman, four representatives appointed by the president acting in consultation with the council of state, the auditor-general, and the head of civil service. The Audit Service Act 2000 (Act 584), which derives most of its provisions from the 1992 constitution, further enhanced the mandate of the GAS. The GAS exists to promote good governance transparency, accountability, and probity- in the public financial management system of Ghana by auditing the management of public resources in accordance with recognized international auditing standards and reporting to Parliament. Its vision is to become one of the leading supreme audit institutions in the world delivering professional, excellent, and cost effective auditing services. By law, the GAS is required to audit all public accounts of Ghana and report on them to Parliament within 6 months after the end of each financial year.
Its mandate includes accounts of the courts, central and local government administrations. Public universities and other schools and all public corporations or other bodies or organizations established by an act of parliament. The auditor- general also has authority to conduct compliance, financial, and performance audits on his own initiative or at the request of the president or parliament. The auditor-general is appointed by the president in consultation with council of state. Under the 1992 constitution and Act 584, the auditor-general is not subject to the direction of control of any other person or authority and has the power to disallow any item of expenditure that is contrary to law. In addition, the auditor-general retains the power to impose surcharges for disallowed expenditures and to have access to all books, record, returns, or other documents relating to active accounts.
Internal auditors of any public institution or body must submit copies of all reports issued as a result of internal audit work to the auditor-general. The GAS headquarters is in Accra, the capital, where about 40 of its over thousand (1000) employees work. In addition, the GAS has 10 regional offices and over 90 district offices. Five deputy auditors-general work under the direction of the auditor general. Twenty-three assistant auditors-general head the regional offices and most of the 61 directors are responsible for the district offices. The GAS is a member of INTOSAI the African Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI) AFROSAIs sub-regional English- speaking group. Adeniyi Ademola, 2010 Financial auditing is the process of examining an organizations (or individuals) financial records to determine if they are accurate and in accordance with any applicable rules including accepted accounting standards regulations and laws.
(AccountingEdu.org) The auditors responsibilities include planning and performing the audit to obtain a reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatements, whether caused by error or fraud. An auditor of a limited liability company has a responsibility imposed upon him/her by statute (Companies code Act 719 and International Standards on Auditing, ISA 200 to form and express a professional opinion on the financial statements presented by the directors to the shareholders. He/she must report to the shareholders, he/she must report the truth and fairness of such statements and the fact that they are in compliance with the law and accepted reporting standards. In so doing, the auditor owes a duty of care to the company imposed by appropriate statute.
(pcaobus.org November 1972). 1.4 The History of Institute of Chartered Accountant-Ghana The Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana- ICAG is a professional accountancy organization and was established by the Parliament Act 170, in 1963. It is the sole body in Ghana with right to award the Chartered Accountant designation, and with the right to regulate the accountancy profession in Ghana. Members of the organization are the only persons recognized under the Companies Code Act (179) 1963, to pursue audits of company accounts in Ghana.
It is governed by a council of eleven members who are chartered accountants. It is headed by a president who holds office for two years. It collaborated with the English Institute of Chartered Accountants in their effort to train accountants for the country after they got the presidential assent to establish the professional body but it gained autonomy in 1978. The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ghana is a member of two international bodies, the sub-regional Association of Accountancy Bodies in West Africa (ABWA), and the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), the worldwide organization for the accountancy profession.
Auditors are categorized into two (2) namely external auditors who come in from outside the organization to examine the accounting financial records and to provide opinion records.It is therefore a statutory requirement for all companies to have their financial records audited. Internal auditors work for the company as employees to examine records and help improve internal processes such as operations internal controls, risk management and governance and to advise management on certain areas the company can improve upon. (icagh.com-about/history). 1.
5 Problem Statement Auditing concerns itself with assessing the internal financial status of a business and comparing it to a picture presented to the outside world. A company prepares its financial statementssuch as the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow and then submits them to auditors, who evaluate them according to industry standards for accuracy and relevance. Audits are extremely important to shareholders, potential investors, regulators, customers and others affected by the companys operations.
A negative report from a firms auditors can seriously damage that firms reputation. Naima Manal, 2017. Risk is the possibility of loss or something or someone that can create an injury or a hazard. There are therefore several risks auditors face during the discharge of their duties which could affect his objective as auditor if care is not properly taken. One of the risks or problems auditors face is that, people think it is their duty to detect fraudulent acts, which is not true, users of the financial statement believe that once a company is audited, then its proof to mismanagement, fraud, etc. Though every profession is guided by legal and professional code of ethics, auditors just like any other profession are faced with difficulties to break or breach these code of conducts when the people or directors offer lump sums in order to favor or cover their inappropriate act. Problems and difficulties are experienced when an auditor is carrying out his duty on the field such as requesting documents to be reviewed- people responsible for giving out the records or books to be examined are reluctant and delay trying to frustrate the auditors.
There are rumors that auditors in our part of the world are also sometimes intimated with superstitious beliefs juju such as threats with death if the auditors try to uncover any misappropriation or embezzlement of funds. In this current age where technology is the new trend and professionals are acknowledging its usage, it is therefore necessary to understand the changes it has brought to the audit profession and the effects, both positives and negatives, associated with its adoption. The final problem is to what extent can an auditor be chargeable for negligence when discharging the duties imposed on him 1.6 Research Objectives The purpose of this research is listed below To understand the duties auditors, perform. To find out exactly the kind of dangers, difficulties, problems auditors face in the discharge of his duties.
The liabilities auditors incur when they fail to detect material items. The changes technology has brought to the job of auditors. 1.7 Research Questions The questions to be asked are listed below What are some of the problems, hazards, difficulties auditors face when discharging their duties To what extent can an auditor be responsible for negligence when discharging the duties imposed on him How do the auditors manage risk Has technology made their job as auditors simpler or easier 1.8 Significance and Relevance of the Research The importance of the research is to find out what the professional risks of auditors are and how the auditors manage the risk they face. The research will help potential auditors have a fair idea of the happenings during the discharge of their duties and also help them to avoid certain complications that could have a huge effect on their careers. This research will also help solve the issue of over familiarity, in the case where an auditor overlooks some issues because of a personal relationship with the head of an institution. The study will help users of the financial statements such as creditors, shareholders and even non users of the financial statements know the roles auditors perform and the importance of auditors in the business world and the kinds of risk they are face in the discharge of their jobs.
This research is a case study of an (10) audit firm to understand the risks they face in their line of duty and how they are able to manage these risks in order to deliver as what is expected of them. 1.9 Limitation of the Study As with any study there are influences that the research team cannot control some of these limitations of study. Such are The findings cannot be generalized to the larger population. This is especially true because the functionality of audit firms differs from one and another. Another limitation that can be looked at is the inadequacy of funds needed to broaden our research on the analysis of professional risks of an auditor in the discharge of their duties.
Furthermore, there is the limitation that the respondent might be reluctant to share certain information needed because they feel it might be confidential and as such cannot disclose. 1.10 Research Methodology A qualitative research method will be employed because the project is a case study of an audit firm. A self-administered semi-structured interview will be the source of data collection. This research method is selected because it will grant researchers the opportunity to ask more questions and understand the interviewee from their point of view what constituents the topic of discussion. CHAPTER 2 THE LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Introduction This chapter aims to understand the views of relevant research conducted by other researchers on the professional risk of an auditor in the discharge of his duties with primary sources mostly being articles and also other research or project works found on the internet.
The researchs parameters are defined in the setting of a business sector where its main focus is the accounting setting and articles are reviewed, evaluated and summarized individually. Auditing is about examining the financial reports presented to the owners of a company for that matter shareholders and third parties or users of the financial report to make informed decisions in the case of regulators, investors and lenders. Auditing is a form of authentication to relevant users informing them that the accounts the auditee is professing actually represents the state of the finances of the company. It is therefore a systematic process performed by certified professionals called auditors who have been given the mandate to express their expert opinion if the reports presented a true and fair representations of an organizations financial standings and also if the reports were prepared according to the standard required. (AccountingEdu.org) The main issue therefore being discussed is the professional risk these professionals face when discharging their duties and subsequently how they manage these risks. These risks come in various forms which could potentially have an effect on the opinions the auditor will express in his report.
This chapter will help give the researchers a broader idea of the different kinds of risks auditors face in their professional duty and the secondary data or relevant data identified will be summarized in the words of the research team members. 2.2 Problems Faced by Auditors The writer of the first article analyzed begins by saying the standard requirement of auditing requires auditors to conduct audit of the companies independently and without interference from the concerned company. He had conducted a survey among audit firms most notably KPMG-UK where he numbered the kinds of problems auditors face in the discharge of their duties in the article after the survey. The first and foremost problem noted was that auditors do not get the support of management that is the insubordination between the management and the auditors.
The writer states that usually, the mangers do not understand the importance of the audit being carried out and therefore do not cooperate much with the auditors in order to provide them with the complete information needed to undertake the audit. He goes on to say that, auditing these days have become and a necessity of all multi-national companies but yet still, many companys managers do not understand why it has to be done through certified professionals thinking they might be too costly to the company. The writer as per the survey urged auditors to communicate with executives the importance of the auditors as proper communication settles disputes and also advised auditors to try to encourage management by re-emphasizing the management roles in the audit process so that it will not be a problem when auditors are conducting their audit.
Another problem numbered in the article was the lack of audit preparation by auditors. Auditors are supposed to improve in the conducting of the auditing and the delivery of the audit report but often, the reports are not really better than the previous year and it goes on year on year all going down to the lack of proper preparation thereby leading to the audit work being done under stress and deadline. This also is problematic because there an oversight on the part of auditors in areas of high sensitivity or materiality would cause wrong audit opinions being expressed which could harm the company or client or put the auditors credibility into question if found that the auditor did not do his work properly. The other problem factor listed was that, sometimes the auditor does not understand the internal controls of the client. It is very important to understand the controls because the auditor in his duty at some point would have to rely on the internal controls to do the work effectively. The writer also noted that, auditors must see that the internal controls designed have properly been implemented. If he assesses the controls and realizes that there have been some failed programs, then he must focus his skills on such programs. The writer stated some ways to understand the clients controls and they are reviewing previous audit reports and records, and also through enquiries, inspection, evaluations and monitoring.
In so doing, auditors gain complete knowledge of the internal controls so as to plan the audit process. The writer concluded by saying these problems auditors face in the line duty can be prevented when auditors communicate properly with the managers of the company so as to plan well for the audit and deliver a flawless audit report for the good of all stakeholders concerned with the company. 2.3 Challenges Facing Modern Auditors According to accountingsa.org.za, a survey was done to identify the challenges facing the modern day auditing profession and they came out with some results. One was fraudulent financial reporting and audit failures.
It was identified that various corporate collapses occurred in the 1990s and early 2000s many of which was from fraudulent financial reporting. This led to significant losses for creditors and serious hardship for shareholders. Another factor was audit failure where the required procedures were not followed which led to end results that did not reflect the true and fair view of the transactions. The solution to this problem was to make new legislation, regulations and standard to strengthen the auditors independence to improve the quality of their work. Another situation was that, the international federation of accountants issued a new auditing standard that introduced a new risk-based audit methodology and more stringent documentation and reporting requirements.
Another challenge was that of audit cost and audit fees. Some clients are often reluctant to accept increase in audit fees in excess of inflation. According to kana, this forces auditors to do extra work without being paid for it, which in the long run will affect the firms ability to retain such clients.
It was then then stated that, auditing fees should be high enough so that auditors can think on the job instead of quickly and mindlessly doing paperwork that will pass inspection. Another point that was highlighted on was staffing, training, and transformation. It was said that nowadays, auditing staffs face many new challenges and in order to overcome these, they should be schooled and trained in techniques that surpass traditional accounting and auditing procedures. These include computer skills, communication and professional business ethics. Another point was the audit expectation gap, being the difference in opinion or understanding among the participants in the financial reporting process as to what are managements duties and responsibilities regarding the financial statements, as opposed to those of the auditor , still exists and poses a very real threat to auditors with the changing business environment, new laws and regulations, and the ever increasing occurrence of fraud , auditors are often blamed for not detecting fraud, errors-responsibilities that reside with management. These misunderstanding result in a loss of confidence in the auditing profession, but also often give rise to lawsuits against audits firms, resulting in legal fees and productive management and auditors where some lost in the litigation process. According the article, they said challenges facing the auditing profession are both complex and many in number. However, given the rigor of qualification process, the technical competence of auditors and a process of continuous learning and development, there is no doubt that the auditor will be able rise against the challenge and succeed.
2.4 Liability of An Auditor As stated by Sr. Partner, S Dhanapel Associates, auditors shall be liable for various reasons and will be subsequently suffer the consequences or punishment it comes with it. First and foremost, an auditor shall pay penalty of a specific amount for non-compliance of Companies Act pertaining to the duties and power of auditors, the appointment and signing on audit reports and may further be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and pay a fine if he knowingly and willfully contravened such provisions with the intention to deceive the company or its shareholders or creditors or the tax authorities. The auditor shall refund the remuneration received by him from the company and also pay for damages suffered to any party involved for loss arising out of incorrect or misleading statements of particulars made in the auditors report.
Also, if the auditor fails to disclose fraud after he/she believes that such an offence has been committed by the officers or employees, he shall pay a fine slated for him. In cases whereby an auditor of a company, directly or indirectly, acted in a fraudulent manner or colluded in any by, or in relation to, the company or its directors or officers, the body supervising auditors shall order the company to remove such an auditor and the auditor shall not be eligible to be appointed as an auditor of any company for a period of five (5) years from the date of passing of the order and the auditor shall be liable to pay fine and be prosecuted as acting in a fraudulent manner, and be imprisonment for six (6) months which may extend to ten (10) years. An auditor who has been convicted by a court of an offence involving fraud, shall also be disqualified to be appointed as an auditor of any company after the passing of the verdict. According to the article evaluated, if an auditor is proved to have acted in a professional misconduct of any kind, the auditor shall be fined and also disbarred by the professional body supervising and managing the duties of auditors. 2.5 Risk Assessment Another reviewed article talks about the risk assessment by auditors in their duties. Risk assessment is the identification and analysis of relevant risks which may prevent the departments from meeting its operational, financial and compliance goals and objectives. The process of auditing is not a planning tool but rather, a part of gathering evidence.
The assessment of risks aids in directing the attention of auditors to issues that need consideration. It should therefore be based on observations and audit evidence put together by the auditor. Also with reference to the risks assessment process, the engagement team are to hold a discussion to transform the nature of any possible misstatements of risks.
The discussion also will entail brainstorming on fraud risks as required by the misstatements of auditing standard 99, which highlights the consideration of fraud in a financial statement audit. It is also expected that, the auditor will detect significant risk before bearing in mind related controls. However, the types of risks overall and assertion based risk can have an effect on the actions of auditors. The overall audit risks needs well experience and engagement team, while obsolescence risks need specific methods on the analysis of product demand and inventory. 2.6 Audit Fees a Challenge for Auditors A related relevant research literature obtained states that the cost of performing audit has increased significantly over the years and this is a challenge for auditors which is as a result of increase in staff salaries, technology cost, professional indemnity insurance as well as changing audit methodology and new accounting standards with are time consuming to understand and to audit. Clients refuse this high audit fees and this forces auditors to do extra audit work without being paid for, which in the long run affects auditors ability to issue standard audit report and to retain clients. Sometimes auditors need to train staffs in order to help in the audit work and the cost of training such staffs compared to the audit fees makes it difficult to get enough audit officers to under audit work for clients.
The shortage of staff has driven up salary cost and consequently audit fees and cost. Nowadays auditors must possess certain skills like computer skills, presentations and professionals and business ethics, inter alia and all of these are require training which involve cost being burdens for auditors or audit firms to recruits new staff or retain old audit officers. Also as per the article, due to the increase cost of audit, efficiency is not properly exhibited because audit fees are not sufficient and this has forced auditors to reduce the time spent on working on audit.
They are under pressure to fix the expenses of the job into fees they can charge. Many of the firms involved in the continuing high profile auditing scandals had their work papers done by firms that easily passed peer review. The auditors probably did their jobs efficiently but did not have the luxury of thinking about what might be wrong.
Auditing fees should be high enough so that auditors can think on the job instead of quickly and mindlessly doing paper work that will pass inspection. Another challenge auditors face is the audit expectation gap and audit litigation. The audit expectation gap, being a difference in opinion or understanding among the participants in the financial reporting process as to what are management duties and responsibilities regarding the financial statements as opposed to those of the auditor. With the ever changing business surroundings, new rules and regulations and the continuous increasing in the occurrence of fraud, auditors are often blamed for not detecting fraud, errors or non-compliance with laws and regulations- responsibilities on the part of management. Such misunderstanding, not only result in the loss of confidence in the auditing profession but also, encourages lawsuit against auditors resulting in legal fees and productive management and auditors time spent in the litigation processes.
2.7 How Financial Auditors Use Caats According to the author, Carlos Vasile-Daniel, of this article reviewed, the adoption, implementation and expansion of complex information system (IS) have an important impact on organization. To cope with this situation, auditors need to use more computer assisted audit techniques (CAATs) especially when auditing organizations with complex information systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) in place. The author investigated how auditors use CAATs in the discharge of their duties whilst considering the existence of the ERP system. After an extensive investigation done by the author whereby he sought answers or collected data by use of questionnaires from various correspondents in Romania who stated the types of business they audited and to what extent they use the computer assisted audit techniques (CAATs) whereby most stated they audit manufacturing companies, then service companies, followed public institutions and then the banking sector. He therefore concluded that after carefully analyzing the correspondents interviewed, a significant number of auditors still rely on the traditional approach around the computer, by using tests of details and analytical procedures rather than using only the CAATs but as the technology environment keeps changing, auditors subsequently would have to gain knowledge in such areas which will help them detect misstatements and assist in doing the work efficiently. 2.
8 Computer Assisted Audit Techniques Joseph Omonuk conducted a research in Nigeria to investigate if auditors effectively use the computer assisted audit tools and techniques to audit financial statements and to find out if there is a positive relationship between the use of CAATs and audit quality. Computer assisted audit techniques was defined as vital instruments that auditors can use in auditing various businesses so as to make the job easier and faster for them to handle. They are computer programs used by auditors as a part of their audit procedure to sort out data that is instrumental in the performance of their audit.
Generally, CAATs are supposed to play a huge role in the accuracy of an auditors report if used effectively. DAngelo referred to audit quality as the probability that auditors will discover errors and material misstatements in financial statements and report the errors and misstatements accordingly. The researcher used a purposive sampling to select a sample of 450 respondents.
They were major audit firms in Nigeria and audited financial statement users werealso included in his study. Data was collected using self-administered questionnaires. The research setting was based in Nigeria because it is the largest economy in Africa and the study sought to find out the application of CAATs in developing countries and how it affects the audit report they produce. After collection of data and thorough evaluation of the data, the researcher concluded that, aside the big four audit firms in Nigeria namely the PriceWaterhouse Coopers, Ernst and Young, KPMG, and Deloitte and Touch, the local audit firms do not effectively apply CAATs to audit financial statements which therefore affect the quality of audit reports they give. The researcher concluded investors do not rely on reports produced by these local firms because of the lack of significant lack of quality in the audit reports and also stated that CAATs usage really helps auditors in the work making it is easy and fast and also reliable to audit large firms in the country and because, users especially investors rely on the big four (4) audit firms in Nigeria because of the effective application of CAATs in their works. 2.9 Threats To Auditors Independence The threats to independence outlined in the article examined begins with the appointment and termination processes of auditors.
Since managers usually suggest which auditor should be appointed and rarely gives shareholders a choice, also because there is no competing proposal from auditors for shareholders to make a choice, and notwithstanding the fact that managers really bring the renewal of auditors to Annual General Meeting (AGM) for approval, this leads to auditors being at the mercy of the clients management and this is a threat to independence. Occasionally, auditors are rotated on a voluntary basis but according to the writer, auditors are too independent for managements taste and management can push for the termination of the incumbent auditor to the appointment of a new auditor and this new auditor is expected to be less independent compared to the previous auditor else the auditor is likely to lose his or her job too. Another problem cited by the writer was self-interest, that is, when auditors are likely to benefit from the client, due to some sort of personal affiliation stating an example as the auditor also being a shareholder of the company who would very much like to withhold poor performance by the company to relevant users.
Familiarity and Complacency, a problem to auditor independence- because the auditor develops a degree of over-confidence in his or her knowledge of the client from being too familiar with client, as in, from the long engagement between the auditor and the client and the auditor may underweight warning signs and the results from this threat could lead to a wrong opinion because the auditor did not consider areas certain areas, due to his or her complacency attitude. Some commentators speak of the need for fresh eyes and mind for better scrutiny of the client. 2.
10 Auditing Standard Benefits According to John A. Fogarty, Lynford Graham and Darrel R. Schubert (2006), the auditing standard can address issues of auditing, they may have an effect of the risk assessment process and document of the evaluating details to rely on how this has been carried out in the past. Also the standards are developed in more effective audits for better assessments of risks and performance of audit methods to address the risks.
Auditors will therefore be able to have attention on those key areas of misstatement of risks. The standard also lays emphasis on the use of assertions to connect risk, controls, audit procedures and conclusions. Auditors can also use this method to check whether the procedures are in line with the risks identified. The standard also makes it clear on the sufficient knowledge of internal control to plan the audit. The benefit of it is that the auditor will have an idea to find out or reach a conclusion on the nature, timing and extent of procedures and evaluating potential fraud risks.
However, the objective of the audit under the statement of Auditing Standard number 107 states that there should be a provision of a reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free of material misstatements. The ASB (Auditing Standard Board) therefore defines the reasonable assurance as a high, although not absolute, level of audit assurance. Auditors in the UK specifically define reasonable assurance as the level of confidence that the financial statements are not materially misstated that an auditor, exercising professional skill and care, is expected to attain from an audit.
It is also noted that the confidence the auditor attains is subjective and it is the basis for offering an audit opinion. 2.11 Impact of Technology on Auditing There was an article on forbes.com on how technology is transforming the audit. It was stated that technology is not just changing financial reporting and auditing, its revolutionizing it. One technology that was talked about is the cognitive technology. With the cognitive technology, it can go through a vast amount of data faster and more precisely than any person.
It determines where a companys practices have gone or might have gone wrong. It also points out where and how systems, operations, processes and controls can be improved. It works on the test of controls and compliance test. The technology or cognitive system can learn as it goes along, allowing it to broaden and refine its knowledge and analytical capabilities, much like traditional audit professionals build their skills over their careers. Because of cognitive technology, auditors can provide detail, high quality audit and also the company executives and audit committees can get deeper insights into the organization like never before. The advice was that, for the system to work very well, auditors must have stronger analytical, data source and IT skills to complement their financial and business acumen. As businesses grow, and their operations become more complex, they typically modify or overhaul their IT systems to support and sustain every functional area.
These audit technologies will drive audit quality and provide insights to auditors and company stakeholders on a host of financial and operational matters. It can combine and process all information from non-traditional sources together with the clients own financial and other records. And through the use of advanced analytics, it can draw a deeper, more robust understanding of potential business risks. It was then said, even with all the benefits of cognitive technology, the human auditor still needs to make critical decisions and offer key analysis and insights. 2.12 The Impact of Control Risk and Business Risk On Sample Evidence Evaluation Hermanson H.M. states that audit effectiveness is of great value to the financial statement users who are likely to endure losses from decisions on information misled and to audit firms by reason of cost litigation which can result from ineffective audits.
The term audit sampling as an area of audit effectiveness has been well noted to be researched widely. More of this research focus is on the sampling risk. Sampling risk links to sample selection methods and sizes. With little work done on non-sampling risk, it therefore results from the lack of access to use the audit tests or failures to identify an error.
Hermanson therefore stated that the purpose or objective of this study of control risk and business risk on sample evidence evaluation is to search through the factors or circumstances that contribute to non-sampling risk. The study takes into consideration two (2) client factors, which are control risk and business risk. However, besides the client risks, auditor experience as well as the audit firm structure were added in the analysis by reason of the research depicting that they affect the judgement of the auditor. Auditors also study the background information of the client that described in detail either high or low control risks and high or low business risk.
After the studying of the background information, auditors errors of evaluation are identified in a sample of accounts receivable finalization. The auditors for that reason decide to reach a conclusion on whether to project the errors to the population or to deal with them as separated occurrences. The Confirmation bias theory forecasts that auditors in the high control risk circumstance probably project errors because errors are likely to happen or likely to come. Also, auditors in the low control risk circumstance probably will separate errors seeing that errors are not likely to happen or likely to come. The economic theory forecasts that auditors will deal with the sample evidence favorably when faced with high business risks by reason of this favorable treatment which will give assistance to remove the auditor from liability if the client fails. The projection of these errors requires more favorable treatment in the way, auditors in high business risk circumstance are required to project more errors than in low business risk circumstance. Hermanson finally indicated that control risk, business risk and experience do not have a strong affection on evidence evaluation in this error projection task.
The structure he indicated was highly worth noting and for that reason auditors in firms with highly structured audit approaches tend to or are likely to project more errors than those in less structured firms. 2.13 Conclusion As per the articles reviewed, auditors face risks in the discharge of their duties. These risks come in various forms, all of these risks can have a considerate amount of effect on the report the auditor produces and this can have an impact on the credibility of the auditor. Risks may arise due to failure to plan the audit properly, in ability to assess areas of high risk, failing to agree audit fees and not conducting proper internal controls of the clients system. The auditor for these reasons need to take into consideration the design and execution of associated controls, avoid dependence on analytical measures alone and as well count on evidence collected only in the current period for control assurance and also communicate properly with the management in order to make clear the roles of the auditors and that of the managers so as to avoid many of these said risks. CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 3.1 Introduction This chapter is dedicated to the means used to gather the required data as well as how such data gathered were analyzed.
It describes the research design, research population including the sampling techniques, the data collecting technique that is the interview questions design and the method of data analysis. Research is a process of steps used to collect and analyze information to increase our understanding of a topic or issue. J.
W. Creswell, 2008. Research comprises of creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humans, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications. It is used to establish or confirm facts, reaffirm the results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, support theorems, or develop new theories. A research project may also be an expansion on past work in the field. Research projects can be used to develop further knowledge on a topic, or in the example of a school research project, they can be used to further a students research prowess to prepare them for future jobs or reports. en.
m.wikipedia.org/wiki/research The research strategy was a case study of a list of selected audit firms in the country that were in good standing as at December, 2017 authenticated by the Institute of Chartered Accountants- Ghana, ICAG. The strategy provided the research team a rich understanding of real life context of the problems, risks auditors encountered and how they managed these risks or problems, and the implications of being negligent as an auditor. Also, to understand how technology had impacted auditing and the future of auditing in the country.
3.2 Research Design A qualitative method design was used due to the fact that the research team adopted a semi-structured interview means of collecting data which is also known as primary data for their research. The semi structured interview was a one on one meeting with the interviewee in which the interviewers did not strictly follow a formalized or standard set of questions. More open-ended questions were asked allowing for a discussion with the interviewee rather than a straight forward question and answer format. The primary advantage of the approach of collecting data was that, they provided much more detailed information than what was available through other data collection methods such as surveys, questionnaires and also to understand vividly what happens in the field of work. They also provided a more relaxed environment in which to collect information, the interviewer and the interviewee felt more comfortable having a conversation as opposed to feeling out surveys and questionnaires. 3.
3 Interview Questions Design The research team came together and planned and structured the interview questions which were asked based on the research objectives and the research questions outlined in chapter one of the research study. Also, based on the method of collecting data which that was the semi-structured questions, the interview questions were designed in such a way that, they led to a follow up questions based on the answers provided by the interviewee. Population The population of the research comprised of all 2017 licensed audit firms in operation in good standing in Accra-Ghana. 3.4 Sampling Techniques Out of the population, ten firms were selected in Accra. The firms in Accra were based in category A and B with the ratings according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants-Ghana. This was done using the non-probability, purposive sampling technique which was based on the judgment and the selectiveness of the research team based on proximity and resource funds available.
This method is totally free from bias and prejudice and it is a representation of the population. 3.5 Validity and Reliability The data collection method had a firm base and can be generally describe as reliable. Data validity and reliability depended on two main factors namely, the source and availability. The two data sources are very reliable especially the auditors interviewed were senior members of the audit firms and have sufficient experience in the industry. These make the data highly reliable and valid.
3.6 Method of Data Analysis To get a clear understanding of the professional risks auditors faced, the research team used the semi-structured interview to present, analyze and interpret data collected from the field. Thematic analyses are also one of the most common analyses in qualitative research. It emphasizes pinpointing, examining and recording patterns or themes within the data. These themes are patterns across data sets that are important to the description of a phenomenon and are associated with specific research questions.
(en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/thematic_analysis). 3.7 Research Ethics The research requires that certain ethics are kept in the process of collecting data. In qualitative research data collection, it is a necessity that, the respondents identities are kept anonymous and certain submissions made during the data collection which are irrelevant to the study or key remarks are kept confidential.
For this reason, the ten (10) audit firms visited identities would not be revealed. CHAPTER 4 PRESENTATION, ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF DATA 4.1 Introduction Auditors encounter various challenges in the discharge of their duties. All these challenges, problems or difficulties are risks that could result in the auditor giving a wrong opinion. The purpose of this research is ascertain practically some of the risks they face and how these risks are avoided and managed, and also how they affect the audit process. Also, this research will help potential auditors have a fair idea of the happenings during the discharge of their duties and to help them manage certain complications that could have a huge effect on their careers.The interview which was conducted was non standardized as research team had a one to one interview with some of the auditors which involved a face to face interaction and a telephone interaction. And also a one to many which involved an interview with a group of auditors also known as group interview.
Some of the questions asked were the practical challenges they face, if they are liable for negligence and how they manage all these risks. The purpose of this chapter is to present, analyze, and interpret the data gathered from the respective respondent interviewed who were certified senior associate of the selected audit firms who had been working in the industry for more than five (5) years. Due to the fact that they were experienced auditors, data can be relied on, and it was gathered through a semi-structured interview which prompted further discussions and was appropriately recorded. Forty-one (41) questions were asked to respondents from a list of selected auditing firms in good standing as at 2017 to collect data concerning the knowledge, views, thoughts and experience on the analysis of the professional risks of an auditor in the discharge of his duties.
In all, forty-one (41) questions were asked by researchers to respondents in a number of selected auditing firms in good standing as at 2017 in the Greater Accra Region. The researchers recorded eighty-five percent (85) response rate of answers to the interview questions. Appropriate headings or themes have also been provided to correspond with the interview administered and because it is a qualitative research. Theres no relevant or suitable software to analyze the data. 4.
2 Themes and Codes The themes and codes used for the presentation of the data are as follows Audit fees CAATS Practical challenges, problems and threats Negligence of auditors Professional Risk Internal controls Expert opinion Conflict of Interest Audit Misconception External auditors for Auditors Joint audit Management Relations Auditor resignation Audit Committee Influences on Auditors Feedback for audit work Disclaimer Industry related risks Suing Auditors Risk Management Lessons Learnt The future of auditing Potential auditors Presentation and analysis of data with reference to themes and codes in details AUDIT FEES Based on the responses collected, some auditors claimed that irrespective of the audit fees charged or received, it does not affect the quality of audit rendered and that the effort is same for all clients but most said that when the fees are either high or low then their objectivity is impaired. Moreover, some of the auditors stated emphatically that, less audit fees payment resulted in less amount of effort exerted on the job, but countered that, it is not supposed to be so. Additionally, some auditors claim they had not experienced any difficulty in receiving audit fees. Conversely, clients unduly delay in the payments of audit fees and that has affected relationship with management and auditors and subsequent audit undertaken.
Also, one respondent stated that, because audit fees forms part of the revenue, a high audit fee could force an auditor to give a wrong opinion by overlooking certain things requested by the management of the client. CAATs Due to the ever changing environment, technology has come to change how things are done. Computer Assisted Audit Tools is one of the technological changes the auditing industry has experienced. During the data collection, all the auditors came out with a response that the use of CAATs helps auditors to gather more audit evidence, helped in audit sampling. It has also been reliable and efficient in helping auditors in discharging their duties.
The auditors made certain submissions that if the client had a reliable software, then it can be relied upon to some extent but subjective to assessment and evaluation. Notwithstanding the fact that CAATs are more reliable than manual sampling because they can give a random figure of a mass population which is also faster than trying to sort out individual ledgers and journals and physical documents. PRACTICAL CHALLENGES, PROBLEMS AND THREATS In the course of the interview, we realized that some of the practical challenges auditors face are There are have been misunderstanding between auditors and management which resulted in delay in receiving necessary information relevant to the audit. Also time constraints were also a problem been faced by auditors in respect to huge work load and short timeframe to meet deadline. Furthermore, some claimed they had been bullied or threatened physically by clients into compromising which will affect their integrity.
Also, clients threaten the auditors that the work will be given to other auditors if the auditors do not conform to what the management of the firm being audited wants. Another challenge mentioned by a respondent was that, tailoring or planning the audit to suit the needs of a particular client in a particular industry also posed a challenged and being too familiar with the client since auditors have a five (5) year period in being auditors of a particular client posed a threat into giving a true and fair view of the clients financial status. There have also been cases in which auditors were asked to represent their clients in the law courts.
NEGLIGENCE OF AUDITORS All auditors were in affirmation that, all agreements were stated in the engagement letter which is issued before the start of the audit and when and if the auditor breaches the agreement, then he is liable for negligence but to some extent and some submitted that, they can be made to share the liability if it is proven that it is not entirely the fault of the auditor in question that is if he owed a duty of care to anyone which was stated but not duly followed or regarded. PROFESSIONAL RISK The risk of not being up to date with the standards on auditing and the International Financial Reporting Standards and also the risk of accepting a job one does not have the skill, competence or resource to undertake in order to meet the deadline. INTERNAL CONTROL From some of the responses gathered, auditors have to first assess the internal controls and after the assessment if the internal controls are weak then the auditor will have to spend more time in the audit work but in the case when it is strong they will still perform their audit with a little evidence placed on the clients controls. Others also responded that the internal controls should not be relied on whether strong or weak. Moreover, other auditors were faced with material misstatements when there are weak internal controls which could lead to wrong audit opinions.
EXPERT OPINION All the auditors stated that, an experts opinion is required when it involves valuation of properties and execution certain programs which required the experts opinion and also when having little or no knowledge in a particular field your client engages in. CONFLICT OF INTEREST Some auditors categorically stated that, in the situation where a conflict of interest arises and it involves a member of the audit team, the said individual must declare those influences and decline involvement but then if it involved the firm as a whole, the firm has to decline the offer. Others also say they must rely on safe guides by totally revoking their involvement in the audit of the client. AUDIT MISCONCEPTION The auditors stated that they are often viewed by the society as witch-hunters, police to catch thieves and to put a stop to corruption but then that is not the case, they were of the view that, auditors are just watchdogs to the companies, to make sure that all the companies are playing a fair game and keeping consistency with the laid down standards and rules in each industry they find themselves in. EXTERNAL AUDITORS FOR AUDITORS All the auditors were affirmative in who the external auditor is, the regulator who checked the audit firms in the country and it is the Institute of Chartered Accountants-Ghana (ICAG) who regulates and audits the audit firm.
Some of the respondents stated that, the private audit is different from the public audit which is conducted and regulated by the Ghana Audit Service and the public audit involved auditing all state institutions and jurisdictions managed by the government. JOINT AUDIT Most of the participants said no. Other auditors said yes, and it was as a result of lack of resources to audit the client and also because their clients were a new and foreign firm. MANAGEMENT RELATIONS If there is an effective relationship with management, the auditor claimed that, they are able to acquire information easily it also helps them to reduce the extent of work because information access is not difficult to gain. Some auditors also said, if there is poor relationship with the management, it will affect the audit so there is the need to assess and evaluate the relationship and make sure to fix any shortfalls with the management and emphasized on the importance of having a good relationship the clients management.
One of the respondent noted that, whether good or bad relationship with management, the auditor has an obligation to do his work and the state of the relationship should not affect the work of the auditor because too much of a good relationship could result in familiarity which is possible to impair the fair judgment of the auditor. AUDITOR RESIGNATION An auditor will resign depending on the type of engagements, that is one must be an auditor for five (5) years and then resign. Also, if the auditors feel continuance with the client will affect the independence and integrity of the audit firm and the audit member. Examples given was that, trying to patronize the auditor, the auditor noticing insider trading or money laundering but is being prevented by the management to make it known and even trying to involve the auditor and also if the management try to withhold information which is vital to the audit, then the auditor has a right to resign.
AUDIT COMMITTEE According to the responses collected, the auditors said the audit committee is there to liaise with the auditors and the client. Other respondents also said that, the audit committee is there to act and an independent person is the best for the chairperson of an audit committee because there would be no bias to a particular section of the committee and any firm that has a functioning audit committee and implements recommendations by the auditor is a very serious firm which is looking to remain in operation for a very long time. INFLUENCES ON AUDITORS The auditor said, yes, some clients have tried to influence them with money and other gifts. Some also said, aside money, too much hospitality in the cases of being given free lunch and a vehicle to pick up the necessary documents is also an influence which could compromise the true nature of the work. They also informed the research team that, an auditor must be competent and avoid all these influences so they can be objective in their duties. FEEDBACK ON AUDIT WORK The auditor said they get feedback through the presentation of reports and communication of results on drafts and management. Also the auditors can also get their feedback through discussing with management, through letters and e-mails and also through Annual General Meetings. Sometimes as per the auditor, a draft can be sent to the client for them to confirm if the account is the true representation of the account.
DISCLAIMER Disclaimer in an audit report is a statement by the auditor that they do not express an opinion on the financial position of a firm because they have not completed the examination of the accounts or that the examination is not broad enough to enable them form an opinion. The respondents suggested that the disclaimer reduces the confidence placed on the reports. INDUSTRY RELATED RISK Auditors stated that risks pertaining to an industry are relative but then banking and finance (banks, insurance and microfinance) have a higher risk due to the fact that their policies keep changing. Also some stated that the oil and gas industry have high risk. Others stated that the educational industry does not pose a higher risk. SUING AUDITORS All respondents replied that no, and that it was not something which was common in the country else the auditors of the two huge indigenous banks which recently collapsed would have been sued for failing to detect that the financial strength of the banks were in the red zone.
RISK MANAGEMENT Auditors stated that they have risk assessment profile. Others also stated that they have a quality audit officer who oversees that the risks auditors face and the quality of work done in their firms. Additionally, some stated that they give training to their audit members and encourage them to be abreast with the dynamic changes in the auditing standards. Other respondents also stated that, they have a Quality Control Department which reviews the work done by the audit members on the field. LESSONS LEARNT Auditors generally stated that it has been efficient and very pro-active and it has helped them in discharging their duties as required of them and it is very good to have a risk management approach to control risk faced in the line of duty. To always anticipate that there are risks attached and working to control the risks. FUTURE OF AUDITING Auditors stated that they see more people entering into the audit profession.
Others also responded that the future of auditing is very dicey in the sense that it the confidence placed in auditors may increase or decrease. The confidence in auditors may increase or decrease due to the circumstances it may pose. Examples cited are the collapse of banks because auditors were unable to inform the public on the financial status of the bank. Another respondent declared that, the industry will grow and that more companies and firms would have their accounts audited when the laws and regulations become very strict which will force many companies to engage the services of an auditor making the industry grow. POTENTIAL AUDITORS Auditors generally stated that they should be hardworking, they should not think about making fast money and that the wealth will come in its appointed time, they should be professionally ethical in the course of their work. They finally concluded that with hard work they will be successful. 4.3 Data Interpretation Based on the above themes we have gathered, auditors face numerous challenges and threats that could result in auditors reporting a wrong opinion.
Some of the numerous threats could be time constraints, audit fees, access to relevant information used for the auditing. Also the auditor must access and evaluate the internal controls of their clients in order to plan their audit. When the auditors realized that the internal controls are weak then the auditor will have to spend more time in the audit work.
Continually, auditors rely on an expert opinion in certain jurisdictions and the fact that it could be reliable is left at the peril of the auditor. Moreover, CAATs, according to auditors has helped reduced sampling risks and insufficiency and inappropriate audit evidence because it is able to gather a sizeable amount of information and it is able to sample a vast number of audit samples. When auditors are faced with conflict of interest, they ought to decline their involvement in the audit process else they would be held liable for negligence in failing to exercise professional competence and due skill that is required of them. Auditors must have a good communication or rapport with management in order to have access to all information without any purposeful delay and must explain the need for confidential information needed for the audit by assuring confidentiality of such critical information. Auditors may also be influenced in monetary wise, offering too much hospitality in order to compromise their objectivity by hiding relevant information from the users of the auditors report.
Clients who have audit committees help external auditors by laying foundations for smooth audit work. All these stated are professional risks in various categories which in one way or the other affect auditors into reporting a true and fair view of the entity being audited. With that been said, auditors have also found ways to avert these risks by implementing certain risk management approaches by having quality control officers in the firms, risk management profiles, constant training of their members and encouraging members to uphold the professional qualities required of an auditor. Also they encourage and motivate members to keep abreast with the International Standards on Auditing (ISA) so as to have a guideline in discharging their duties.All private audit firms are regulated and audited by the Institute of Chartered Accountants-Ghana (ICAG). CHAPTER 5 FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 5.1 Introduction This chapter is the concluding part of the research process.
The chapter presents the results of the study as analyzed and presented in the preceding chapter. The chapter would be presented to three main sub headings in line with the objectives of the study.Firstly, the main findings or outcome of the study would be discussed at full length followed by the conclusion and finally recommendations would be given with reference to the professional risk analysis of an auditor in the discharge of his duties. 5.2 Summary of findings This study has explored how risks impacts the auditors performance to act professionally. The discussion focuses mainly on views of auditors in Ghana whose firms are considered to be licensed and are in good standing as presented in their response to interview questions and analyzed in the preceding chapter. The discussion is presented according to the findings generated from the data analysis. The major problems identified as risks auditors face are Auditor influence, ineffective relationship with management, time constraints and audit fees.
It was also found that the problems identified constrained the auditors profession. According to our findings, It is noted that auditors are influenced through huge sums of money in order to favor or cover inappropriate acts on the part of clients thus for example when a client asks an auditor to represent him in the court for an inappropriate act. Secondly from our findings on management relationship, it is noted that an effective management relationship will help to acquire information more easily which will help to reduce the extent of work simply because the information will not be difficult to gain. Thirdly from our findings on time constraints, we gathered that auditors face the problem of meeting short term deadlines as a result of their work load. Lastly from our findings on audit fees, we gathered that a few auditors who responded to our questions were on the view that irrespective of the audit fees that is charged, it does not affect the quality of the audit rendered. Others were of the view that when the fees are either high or low then the objectivity becomes impaired. However, others also claimed they had not experienced any difficulty in receiving auditing fees. It was also gathered that. Auditors have a duty to the shareholders of the company, the owners of the company because it is they who employed the auditor and not the management of the company. It was also noticed that, it is their duty to access all relevant information that is needed for the audit and they must exercise professional competence and skill and that they owe a duty of care to the users of their independent report. Though it is very rare to see an auditor being sued by shareholders and even stakeholders who include the investors, employees and government when the audited financial statements are published, nonetheless, the auditors are expected to follow the International Standards on Auditing in order to be objective and independent to help individuals or firms who do not have any idea about the financial position of a firm else if found guilty, they may be held responsible for it in the near future or the shareholders and stakeholders will have diminishing confidence in the auditing profession. Also if and when found that auditors were negligent and perpetrated in such act, the auditors in question could have his license suspended or revoked and pay a fine and in worst cases imprisoned. 5.3 Conclusion Based on the findings, it can be concluded that though there are challenges or risks, auditors do have measures in place to manage the risk thus various risk management profile depending on the audit firm and it has helped the auditors to be objective in their dealings. From the respondents, majority stated that with material misstatements, there was the need for auditors to first assess the internal controls whether they are weak or strong. They went on further to state that if they are weak then the auditor will have to spend more time in the audit work but when they are strong then they will still perform the audit but little evidence will be placed on client controlsAdditionally the respondents stated that there should be an effective relationship with management so as to be able to acquire information easily and also go a long way to reduce the extent of work. They also added by stating that when there is poor relationship with management, it will affect the audit so there should be the need to evaluate the relationship and make sure to solve any shortfalls with management. This would ensure that an effective audit work is done as information will be acquired easily. Continually, audit firms must employ the use technology that is the Computer Assisted Audit Tools, CAATs because it has proven to be efficient and effective and being able to evaluate and examine a large number of files with the results reliable as well. Auditors who are negligent may face the consequences of their actions and it is best to follow the standards so as to not impair their integrity. 5.4 Recommendations The research identified some other issues. In that manner we are making the following recommendations on audit fees, monitory operations, technology issues, and evaluation issues. Firstly, it is recommended that auditors should have a risk management approach in order to control or avoid the on field problems or challenges they usually face. Secondly, it is recommended that they should evaluate internal controls of their clients. Thirdly, it is recommended that with the advancement in technology, auditors should be knowledgeable and be abreast with the technology since auditing involves the use of Computer Assisted Audit Tools (CAATs). Additionally, it is recommended that audit fees should not be a problem as to how they deliver the quality of auditing. Importantly, auditing firms should have a quality control department to help oversee and monitor all of its operations. Lastly, it is also recommended that auditors should be updated with International Standards on Auditing. REFERENCES Accountingedu.org/what-is-auditing.html Accountancysa.org.za/challenges-facing-the-modern-day-auditing-profession Adeniyi Ademola Data Communication and Networking. History of Auditing in Ghana and Nigeria. 2010. CARDOS, Vasile-Daniel. (2010). HOW FINANCIAL AUDITORS USE CAATS AND PERCEIVE ERP SYSTEMS. Annals of the University of Oradea. CS. S Dhanapal B. Com, B.A.B.L, F.C.S HYPERLINK http//www.caclubindia.com/articles/liability-of-auditors-under-the-companies-act-2013-19092.asp http//www.caclubindia.com/articles/liability-of-auditors-under-the-companies-act-2013-19092.asp Forbes.com/sites/kmpg/2016/11/23/how-technology-is-transforming-the-audit Gilad Livne HYPERLINK http//www.financepractitioner.com/auditing-best-practice/threats-to-auditor-independence-and-possible-remediesfull http//www.financepractitioner.com/auditing-best-practice/threats-to-auditor-independence-and-possible-remediesfull Hermanson H.M. the impact of control risk and business risk on sample evidence evaluation/1994 John A. Fogarty, Lynford Graham and Darrel R. Schubert journalofaccountancy.com/issues/2006/jul/assessingandrespondingtorisksinafinancialstatementaudit.html J. R. Taylor, The late A. H. Millichamp, BookPower edition of ninth edition of auditing Lee. T.A, The Evolution of Audit Thought and Practice (New York Garland Publishing Inc. 1988) Naima Manal bizfluent.com/about-4681905-history-of-auditing.html Omonuk JB, Oni AA (2015) Computer Assisted Audit Techniques and Audit Quality in Developing Countries Evidence from Nigeria. J Internet Bank Commer 20127 Staub, Walter A., Auditing Developments During the Present Century (Massachusetts Harvard University Press, 1942). icagh.com/newsite/about-us/history 16.www.google.com.gh/amp/s/www.forbes.com/sites/kpmg/2016/11/23/how-technology-is-transforming-the-audit/amp/ 17. HYPERLINK http//www.grossarchive.com www.grossarchive.com 18.www.ukessays.com/essays/accounting/problems-faced-by-auditors-accounting-essay.php 19. HYPERLINK https//pcaobus.org/standards/auditing/pages/AU110.aspx https//pcaobus.org/standards/auditing/pages/AU110.aspx A SET OF SEMI STRUCTURED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS What threats do auditors face when discharging their duties To what extent can audit fees affect the effectiveness of auditing To what extent can weakness of internal controls affect the audit How does effective relationship with management help auditors To what extent has the introduction of computer assisted audit tools help reduce risk and improper audit What are the practical challenges that confront auditors during the audit Have auditors been influenced by any other means such as monetary wise How do they deal with conflict of interest Have they encountered challenges for receiving audit fees after work done How do they get feedback from client for quality of work done and by what means do they get feedback To what extent can auditors be liable for negligence What does a disclaimer in an audit report mean and does it reduce the confidence placed on the report Should auditors be made to share liabilities with clients and third parties Has your firm been sued for negligence Have you been engaged in any Joint Audit in the past How difficult is it for auditors struggle to gain access to confidential information needed for the audit Why would an auditor resign and for what reason What is the purpose of the audit committee inside the firm and its role with external auditors How can the audit committee keep up to date in quickly changing public sector environment, including having a strong understanding of the financial information Why is an independent chairperson the best option for the audit committee How does your audit committee improve its oversight of the companys risk management Do you have an auditor for your firm What relationship exists between your firm and its external auditors What internal control framework does your management use to assess its internal control How is Management assessing the companys internal control effectiveness How does the society perceive auditing How does the influence of regulatory bodies of the profession, both ICA and the Ghana Audit Service impact the audit profession Under what conditions would you require the services of an expert How does assurance services and attestation differ and its importance to auditors and clients To what extent is the use of CAATS more reliable than manual sampling audits What is your Risk Management Approach Has it been efficient and effective so far Have you ever encountered any professional risk What Systems/Methods are in place within your organization in managing professional risk What lessons have you learnt in resolving any professional risk that you have encountered Are there any professional bodies to manage risk How do professional bodies guide members in instilling discipline into the professional work How do the regulators ensure that members act professionally Is there any industry that you have audited which posed a higher professional risk What is the future of auditing in Ghana (Private and Public). 40. Any advice for potential auditors and the users of the audited financial statements. 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