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Discussant's Response to The New AICPA Audit Commission— Will the Real Questions Please Stand Up? Jack C. Robertson University of Texas at Austin One finds no argument with Mr. Harlan's belief that establishment of the AICPA Audit Commission can be a positive step toward improvement in the world of auditing. However, as he implies, it is not merely the appointment that represents progress but rather the ultimate product of the Commission that finally must be perceived as relevant and meaningful. In order to attain these latter qualities not only must relevant and meaningful (i.e., real) questions and issues be raised, but they must be resolved to the satisfaction of the "worlds" that exist outside the world of auditing. Other Worlds Some view auditing as a very small sub-world in society and others view it as a universal, pervasive and larger world in its own right. Typical expressions of the various worlds, which auditing is both in and of, are couched in terms of the societal segments that are interested in financial communications. In order not to belabor this old and familiar concern, let me just draw a picture in words: Visualize a series of concentric circles that represent various societal spheres of interest. In the inner circle lies accountancy, and in successively larger outer circles management, present stockholders, all other present investors, other economic interests (e.g., labor, competitors, suppliers), potential future investors, and other social-political interests (e.g., regulators, ecologists). In my mind's eye, auditing is the set of spokes that connects these other worlds to accountancy, for better or for worse. I wish to make two points based on the foregoing preamble: First, auditing is inextricably bound to accountancy in current thought, thus it is oftentimes difficult to distinguish an accounting question from an auditing question. (More on this point later.) Second, the length of the imaginary spokes is important to auditors in the context of specifying auditors' role(s) in society. A closely allied corollary question in this regard is: "Who is the auditor's client?" I submit that the definition of "client" is more than a mere exercise in semantics. The definition lies at the heart of auditors' acceptance of professional responsibility, and the issue constitutes the premier real question for the new audit commission. The AICPA Code of Ethics defines client as the person(s) or entity which retains an auditor for professional services. I perceive this definition as deficient because it does not fully recognize the social-political concerns of other worlds with whom an auditor has a social contract to fulfill. 28
Discussant's response to the new AICPA Audit Commission -- Will the real questions please stand up?
Robertson, Jack C.
|Contributor||Stettler, Howard, ed.|
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Audit Commission
Contemporary auditing problems: Proceedings of the Touche Ross/University of Kansas Symposium on Auditing Problems, pp. 028-031
|Source||Published by: University of Kansas, School of Business|
|Rights||Contents have not been copyrighted|
|Format||PDF page image with corrected OCR scanned at 400 dpi|
|Collection||Deloitte Digital Collection|
|Digital Publisher||University of Mississippi Library. Accounting Collection|
|Identifier||Contemporary Auditing Problems 1974-p28-31|