ASSURANCE AND CORPORATE CREDIBLE REPORTING EXAM
ASSURANCE AND CORPORATE CREDIBLE REPORTING
THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER
Answer TWO questions
You have 48 hours to complete this examination, but it is expected that you spend no more than three times the duration of the original examination completing it.
Each essay answer should be no more than 1500 words in length. You must not exceed the specified word limit. This is a maximum word limit (+10% does not apply). Markers will be instructed that they do not have to mark anything beyond the 1500 words limit.
The use of electronic calculators is not permitted
Answer TWO questions
On this course, you have learned that the relative invisibility of superior audit quality could lead to a focus on achieving minimum levels of audit quality, with emphasis placed more on avoiding falling below such a minimum than attempting to maximise achieved levels of audit quality – as argued by Professor Peter Moizer in Current Issues on Auditing, M. Sherer and S. Turley (eds.).
- What is the significance and core implications of the above argument when considering the functioning of the audit market and the pursuit of greater competitiveness? (25 marks)
- Peter Moizer developed his argument before the existence of independent regulatory oversight and inspection and the provision of independently set International Standards on Auditing (ISAs). What impact do you think the latter two developments have had on his argument and ruling levels of audit quality?
Audit reform has become a very hot topic in recent years. There have been numerous investigations internationally debating the future of audit and various proposals as to how to make the audit function more socially purposeful and better serving of the public interest.
Drawing on your knowledge of such reform initiatives and proposals, and particularly the workings of your own discussion group, outline what you regard as the most critical areas in which audit reform is needed and what reforms do you think would be most effective in terms of enhancing the social functioning of audit and satisfying the public interest?
Your answer must make clear the underlying rationales for your findings/recommendations and provide suitable support by reference to pertinent contemporary and/or historical literature on the role of audit and the case for change. You should also indicate the extent to which your recommendations are context specific and whether they would differ if being applied in a developed or developing nation (or Western or non-Western context). (50 marks)
In recent years, there have been vivid developments in the form and content of the external financial audit report, commonly referred to as the ‘extended audit report’. There has also been much discussion and indications of advancement in audit methodological approaches through a growing resort to data analytics and artificial intelligence.
Drawing on your knowledge of relevant academic and professional practice audit literature, outline and assess the nature and impact of the changes that have taken place in audit reporting and audit methodologies. Your answer should highlight what you regard as the most notable achievements and the areas where practice could be most improved/developed further.
On a recent evening out with your friends and fellow students, your discussion ended up focusing on why someone would wish to study auditing at University, let alone pursue a career in auditing and/or assurance. Students taking courses in science commented that notions of professionalism were far higher in medicine and engineering than in accounting and auditing, where commercialism was seen to be rampant. Students studying sociology spoke of the depressing rise of audit as a social control mechanism and their distaste for the notion of an ‘audit society’. Social anthropologist students worried over the disappearance of distinct, local cultures as accountants and auditors colonised the world through the spread of their international accounting and auditing standards. Economic students saw audit as an irritating regulatory device, impeding business enterprise, innovation and technological advancement, while students studying environmentalism and human rights questioned the level of assurance being provided in their field of interest – stressing that accountants and auditors will always pay more attention to what can be measured rather than what was fundamentally important. You were left with making a strong case in support of the educational merits of studying auditing and assurance at University and the social contribution made by the accounting profession.
- Describe the best case that you think could be made to counter the views expressed by the above students, highlighting what you regard as the most powerful justifications for the accounting profession and the study of auditing and assurance at University. In particular, your answer should indicate what you think society would most likely resemble and be like without the active presence of accountants and auditors.
Question 4 continued overleaf PTO
Question 4 continued
- Provide an overall assessment of how compelling you think the case you outline in part (a) would be when explained to the above students. Where, in particular, you think it could be most vulnerable and lacking in evidential support? (15 marks)
END OF EXAMINATION PAPER