ASSURANCE AND CORPORATE CREDIBLE REPORTING

THE UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER
ASSURANCE AND CORPORATE CREDIBLE REPORTING
January 2021
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
© The University of Manchester, 2021.
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Answer TWO questions

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QUESTION 1

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.).
Required:
(a) 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)
(b) 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?
(25 marks)

QUESTION 2

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.
Required:
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)
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QUESTION 3
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.
Required:
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.
(50 marks)

QUESTION 4

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.
Required:
(a) 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.
(35 marks)
Question 4 continued overleaf
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Question 4 continued
(b) Provide an overall assessment as to how compelling you think the case
you outline in part (a) would be when explained to the above students
and where, in particular, you think it could be most vulnerable and
lacking in evidential support? (15 marks)
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