Enforcement release evidence on the audit confirmation process: Implications for standard setters

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The audit confirmation process involves obtaining evidence from third parties about information affecting financial statement assertions. Recently, the confirmation process has drawn the attention of both regulators and practitioners (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), 2007a, International Federation of Accountants, 2006, International Federation of Accountants, 2008 and Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB), 2004) due to questions regarding whether this widely used audit procedure provides persuasive audit evidence. This paper examines confirmation-related evidence from relevant Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Releases (AAERs).

Our findings integrate the confirmation process and enforcement release outcomes to provide guidance to regulators and researchers. Specifically, we found situations where fraud may have been detected if auditors had confirmed additional items such as material cash balances, marketable securities, and terms of significant transactions. We also noted (1) situations where management requested that auditors not confirm specific accounts, (2) several examples of collusion between the auditee and either vendors or customers, as well as related parties, and (3) cases involving failure to authenticate responses. Our detailed examination of enforcement release evidence provides implications for standard setters and areas for future research.


Copyright 2010 Elsevier

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Publication Title

Research in Accounting Regulation

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Janvrin, Diane, Paul Caster, and Randy Elder. "Enforcement release evidence on the audit confirmation process: Implications for standard setters." Research in Accounting Regulation 22, no. 1 (2010): 1-17.



Peer Reviewed