HI6026 Audit, Assurance and Compliance
Trimester 3 2018
Assessment Value: 30%
1. This assignment is to be submitted in accordance with the assessment policy stated in the Unit Outline and Student Handbook.
2. It is the responsibility of the student who is submitting the work, to ensure that the work is in fact her/his own work. Incorporating another’s work or ideas into one’s own work without appropriate acknowledgement is an academic offence. Students should submit all assignments for plagiarism checking on Blackboard before final submission in the subject. For further details, please refer to the Unit Outline and Student Handbook.
3. Note Assignments not submitted through Blackboard will not be assessed.
4. Maximum marks available: 30 marks. Refer to marking rubric for marking criteria.
5. Assignment should be 3,000 words. Please use “word count” and include this in the report. Presented in Calibri font size 12.
6. Due date of submission: Week 9, Friday at 12.59 p.m.
Topic: Auditor’s Public Interest Responsibilities and Audit Quality
Background and Context:
In a recent interview with ABC news, the now former Chairman of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) Greg Medcraft warned that:
“We don’t want to have another Enron. And the key to not having another Enron is making sure auditors do their job and to get assurance that financials are free of material misstatement- 1
Enron was an energy, commodities, and services company based in Texas, USA. It was founded in 1985. Prior to its bankruptcy on 3rd December, 2001, Enron employed close to 30,000 staff and was a significant electricity, natural gas and communications company, which had reported revenue of nearly US$101 billion during the year 2000.
By the end of 2001, it was revealed that Enron’s reported financial position was manipulated by a systematic and preconceived accounting fraud, known since as the “Enron Scandal”. Enron has since become known as an infamous case of audacious corporate fraud and corruption.
The scandal also brought into question the accounting practices and activities of many corporations in the USA and was a factor in the creation of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002. The scandal also led to the demise of the accounting firm, Arthur Andersen, which was Enron’s auditor.
In more recent times, according to ASIC, based on samples of key audits performed by Deloitte, KPMG, PWC and Ernst & Young, over an 18 month period up to December 2016, 23% had not provided reasonable assurance that accounts were accurate or free of misstatements.
As stated in the Accounting Professional and Ethics Standards Board (APESB) APES
110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants, under Section 100 Introduction and Fundamental Principles,
“A distinguishing mark of the accountancy profession is its acceptance of the responsibility to act in the public interest.” 2
Pre –Assessment Task:
Download the latest APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants document. Review all the sections within this document which relate to the Auditor’s role in providing reasonable assurance and performing auditing services. Refer to the section in the textbook on “Whistleblowing” on pp 268 – 270, focussing on the paragraphs which mention Enron.
When sub-standard audits are performed and reasonable assurance cannot be reliably ascertained, there are consequential risks for key stakeholders, including auditors. In light of this, perform the following key assignment tasks:
1. Perform a key stakeholder analysis for an ASX listed company. Explain how the key stakeholders would be affected if material misstatements are not properly identified, disclosed or adjusted for in the finalised financial statements. What are the key risks posed to each key stakeholder you have identified? (300 – 400 words)
2. Consider the concepts of independence and “whistleblowing” in relation to auditors. How do these concepts relate to the public interest requirements mentioned in the APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants document? (300 – 400 words)
3. What lessons can auditors learn from the Enron scandal and in particular from the behaviour of Arthur Andersen? (750 – 900 words)
4. With reference to the APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants document and the ASIC website, research “audit quality” and discuss what auditors need to do to address the “warning” noted in the statement made by
Greg Medcraft above. (750 – 900 words)
1. Executive Summary
• The Executive summary should be concise and not involve too much detail.
• It should make commentary on the main points only and follow the sequence of the report.
• Write the Executive Summary after the report is completed, and once you have an overview of the whole text.
• The Executive Summary appears on the first page of the report.
2. Contents Page – This needs to show a logical listing of all the sub-headings of the report’s contents.
3. Introduction – A short paragraph which includes background, scope and the main points raised in order of importance. There should be a brief conclusion statement at the end of the Introduction. (100 – 200 words)
4. Main Body Paragraphs with numbered sub-headings – Detailed information which elaborates on the main points raised in the Introduction. Each paragraph should begin with a clear topic sentence, then supporting sentences with facts and evidence obtained from research and finish with a concluding sentence at the end.
5. Conclusion – A logical and coherent evaluation based on a thorough and an objective assessment of the research performed. (100 – 200 words)
6. Appendices – Include any additional explanatory information which is supplementary and/ or graphical to help communicate the main ideas made in the report. Refer to the appendices in the main body paragraphs, as and where appropriate.
Resources Reference Links:
4. Textbook: Gay & Simnett, Auditing & Assurance Services in Australia, 6th Edn, McGraw Hill Education, 2017
Assignment Marks Allocation:
Executive Summary (6 marks)
Main Body of the Report (12 marks)
Conclusion (6 marks)
Spelling and Grammar (1.5 mark)
Presentation (1.5 mark)
Reference and Citation
Total 30 marks
Note Refer to the Individual Assignment Rubric below HI6026 – Individual Assignment Marking Rubric
Criteria Weight Excellent Good Satisfactory Sub-standard
Executive Summary 6 marks • Very effectively written synopsis with clear communication of the main points.
(5 -6 marks) • Competently composed synopsis with the main points communicated.
(4-5 marks) • Synopsis is clearly written, but it is brief or has some errors.
(3-4 marks) • Synopsis is deficient and poorly written. Too brief.
(1 -2 marks)
Main Body Including
Introduction 12 marks • Excellent. Well organised. Main points are logically ordered; sharp sense of structuring and arrangement of key information.
Supporting details are specific to the main points and adequate facts and other evidence is provided and wellarticulated. (10 – 12 marks) • Organised; but some main points are
disjointed, incomplete or not correctly prioritised. Some details do not support the subject. (9 – 10 marks) • Some organization; main points are there but they are disjointed; Minor structuring issues.
(7 – 8 marks)
• Poorly organized; no logical progression; beginning and ending are vague. No structure. Lacks substance. No research noted. (1 – 6 marks)
Conclusion 6 marks • Very well composed conclusion with a clear and logical evaluation with conclusive and persuasive statements based on an intelligent assessment of the evidence acquired.
(5 -6 marks) • Conclusion is logical and an evaluation is made, but there is some lack of evidence or depth of analysis, which would have improved the overall persuasiveness of
the report. (4 -5 marks) • Conclusion is noted and an evaluation is presented, but it is lacking in sufficient detail or supporting evidence. Requires more analysis and some proof-reading.
(3 -4 marks) • Conclusion is poorly written with no evaluation and no logical coherence. No evidence of analysis. Poor effort.
(1 -2 marks)
Spelling and Grammar 1.5 mark • No errors. Well proofread. Clearly edited and refined prior to submission. (1.5 mark) • Only minor errors.
Needs some editing. (0.75 – 1 mark) • Numerous minor errors. Not proofread or
effectively. (0.5 mark) • Numerous major and minor errors which distract from understanding and clarity. Not proofread. Not edited. Academic
English level is low. (0 mark)
Presentation 1.5 mark • Very well formatted with sub-headings, page numbers, appendices, and effective use of tables/graphics
(1.5 mark) • Formatting is well set out and clear, but there are minor issues in subheadings, page numbers, appendices and/or graphics. (0.75 -1 mark) • Formatting is coherent and clearly structured, but page numbers are missing or subheadings or contents page is brief
(0.5 mark) • No formatting or lack of structuring.
and Citation 3 marks • References are consistently correct using Harvard style or APA style. No missing citations. A strong reference list with relevant and credible sources.
(2 -3 marks) • Generally correct referencing using Harvard style or APA
style. Lacks references. (1.5 -2 marks) • Some References are used, but not used consistently.
Not enough research. (1 mark) • References are missing or do not comply with correct referencing style.