Cases from the SEC Files: Topics in Auditing

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9780130648167: Cases from the SEC Files: Topics in Auditing

This casebook consists of 26 cases excerpted from the SEC Enforcement Division's releases for false and misleading financial statements, each containing valuable lessons to be learned about the possibility of financial statement fraud and how an auditor can go about finding such fraud. The real people, companies, and events of each case provide readers with an understanding of the practical applicability and real consequences of the book's discussions. A four-part organization examines professional responsibilities, internal control, specific accounts and areas, and cases covering multiple areas. For fraud examiners and those preparing for the CFE exam.

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Accounting educators have long recognized the need to accomplish two key objectives in auditing.

  • First, we need to provide students with an active learning environment.
  • Second, students need to understand that the ideas being discussed in class have both practical applicability and real consequences.

This casebook is designed to accomplish both of these objectives by providing students with access to real cases, about real companies and real people. The cases are excerpted from SEC enforcement actions relating to financial statement manipulation and/or auditor misconduct. In each case, valuable lessons can be learned by careful examination of the cases and thoughtful analysis of the questions asked. By using these cases as the basis for class discussion, students become active participants in the learning process.

The five main features of this casebook are as follows:

  1. Cases are current. They are about real companies and real auditors.
  2. The casebook will be continually updated with new cases made available through the casebook's Web site.
  3. Many cases contain questions dealing with risk assessment, application of audit judgment and consideration of ethical issues. These questions are keyed with symbols for easy identification.
  4. Many cases require students to integrate accounting knowledge with auditing knowledge to solve misstatements presented in the cases.
  5. Many cases help to illustrate the auditor's fraud detection responsibilities recognized in SAS 82. Many cases contain questions specifically tied to the incentives and opportunities to misstate financial statements.

The main learning objective of this book is to integrate into the classroom discussions of real situations that real auditors have faced. Specific learning objectives fall into three main categories:

  • First, to integrate key elements of auditing (risk assessment, judgment, and ethical considerations) into case discussions and decision making.
  • Second, cases should encourage students to learn not perpetuate ineffectual audit procedures by looking at mistakes of other auditors who engaged in deficient audit practices.
  • Third, by examining cases in which managers were cited for misstating financial statements, students should become sensitized to the real potential for fraudulent financial reporting.

This casebook consists of 26 cases excerpted from the SEC Enforcement Division's releases for false and misleading financial statements. The cases include those in which the SEC cites specific auditors for their substandard audit work, cases in which an auditor found the misstatements, and cases in which the auditor is not mentioned. In all cases, however, there are valuable lessons to be learned about the possibility of financial statement fraud and how an auditor can go about finding such fraud. The cases also illustrate to students the SEC's perspective that, in the audit of a public company's financial statements, the public interest should be of paramount concern to the auditor. In addition, because these cases all involve real people, real companies, and real events, students should come to recognize that frauds really do occur and that the independent auditor is often all that stands between management's interests in making themselves look good, and the investing public's need (and right) to accurate financial information to make informed decisions.

The cases range from short, highly focused cases that can be covered in about 10 to 15 minutes, to longer, fairly detailed cases which may take a full class period. Virtually all of the cases have been subject to class testing over a number of years. These cases have proven useful at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and in beginning and advanced auditing courses. For many of the cases, extensive background knowledge is not necessary, as they relate to specific topics covered early in most basic auditing classes.

The cases are amenable to being used in a number of different ways. Students may be asked to write up answers to the cases, either individually or in groups. Student presentations have also been used, along with the student write-ups. Cases have been successfully used to further understanding of audit topics by class discussions.

The questions developed for each case are designed to encourage the students to carefully read and consider the SEC's findings. Answers to the questions also sometimes require that students refer to other materials.

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