HI6026-Audit, Assurance and Compliance
Purpose of the Assignment
Students are required to research a recent legal case where an Audit firm was sued for professional negligence. Students are required to analyse the root causes and the pertinent issues from their selected case and then specify what measures can be taken by auditors in the audit approach and in other ways, to minimise the risk of litigation and ensure professional integrity and reputation.
Assignment Topic – Auditors and Legal Liability
Read the following extract from the ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) website, which is the global body for professional accountants, as stated:
“Over the past two decades the bill for litigation settlements of Big Four audit firms alone has run into billions of dollars. Examples include Deloitte’s 2005 settlement of $250m regarding its audit of insurance company Fortress Re and PwC’s $229m settlement in the lawsuit brought by the shareholders of audit client Tyco in 2007.”
“Auditor liability is increasingly concerning, both in terms of audit quality and the reputation of the profession but also in terms of the cost to the industry and the barriers this creates to competition within the audit market.”
Given the importance of professional liability to auditors and the negative publicity this creates for the profession as a whole, research a recent case (Post 2000) where an auditor/audit firm was sued for professional negligence. Students may research cases from the UK, USA, NZ or Canada in addition to Australian cases.
With reference to the facts of the selected case, the significant Auditing and Accounting issues and the final judgement handed down in your selected case:
• Provide a brief description of the key events and the factual issues behind thecase
• Explain the culpability or which parties were deemed responsible and why. Outline the damages imposed or the penalties and consider whether they were appropriate.
• investigate and explain the relevant issues in Auditing and Accounting raised by the case,
• The root-cause of the issues such as; market pressure, organisational culture, fraud etc.
• any problems, mistakes or misrepresentations made by the defendants, which contributed to the adverse judgement and the awarding of damages,
• Finally, provide recommendations and possible improvements to:
a.the Audit Strategy,
b.the Audit Program,
c.Other effective measures;
which would prevent the recurrence of the same litigation in the future and maintain the professional reputation of auditors.