86 HASKINS & SELLS November
Bell, William H., and Powelson, John A.
Auditing. (New York, Prentice-Hall, Inc.,
1924. 518 p.)
In judging any technical treatise there
are three main points which should receive
consideration: Does it add to the existing
literature on the subject or present existing
material in a more satisfactory manner?
Is it authoritative and reliable? Is the
material adaptable to practical use?
Answering these questions in relation to
the book under review there is no possibility
of departing from the affirmative.
There is nothing extant just like it as far as
the reviewer is aware.
Considering the contents somewhat in
reverse order, the cases, questions and suggested
lesson assignments are a novelty in
auditing text-books and constitute a factor
which should go far in making the book
useful for teaching purposes, which is one
of the avowed desires of the authors.
Admittedly, nothing can take the place of
practical experience as a means of learning
how to apply auditing principles, but cases
offer as good a substitute as may be found.
Of these the authors have provided nineteen
covering many of the points which
arise in auditing practice. The cases are
supplemented with one hundred and
seventy-three questions, including thirty
taken from the New York C. P. A. questions
on auditing set at the June, 1923, and
January, 1924, examinations. Solutions
to the cases and answers to the questions
are to be published separately.
Lest the foregoing emphasis on cases
obscure that part of the book in which is
discussed the principles and practice of
auditing, it may be said that while generally
speaking there is nothing strikingly
new as to content, a certain strain of practicality
runs through the whole text, giving
it a touch not previously attained by
authors on the subject. This undoubtedly
may be ascribed to the author's up-bringing
and professional experience in which he
has been under the necessity of considering
the practical as well as the theoretical side
of auditing practice. To the same reason
may be traced the professional slant which
attaches to much of the exposition.
The discussion may be characterized as
authoritative and reliable. Born of practical
experience, the author's views are
sound and his arguments generally convincing;
further, they are orthodox to a
marked degree. The tendency to didacticism,
which is strong, and properly so for
the student audience, might have been
relieved for practitioners by the introduction
of more illustrative experiences. But,
then, auditing is a serious matter.
The book is subject to criticism for the
brevity with which "working papers" and
"reports" have been dismissed. True, the