Peeling away financial reporting issues one layer at a time

Category for Auditing

Rays of Sunlight to Shine on Audits — and Auditability

Yesterday was a very good day for investors! The SEC finally approved PCAOB rules that will make a lot more information public about what actually went down during [Read More...]

A Perspective on “Professional Skepticism” — Part 2 of 2

(Part 1 is here.)

I have found that a useful way to home in on the drivers of audit quality is to regard an audit as two distinct engagements: (1) verifying facts, [Read More...]

A Perspective on “Professional Skepticism” (Part 1 of 2)

I was recently invited to make a presentation to a conference of auditors. The leadership asked me to address “professional skepticism,” one of those difficult-to-nail-down ideas, yet a recent point of emphasis in PCAOB inspections.

The [Read More...]

More Not to Like about Deferred Taxes: The Foreign Earnings Loophole

A seasoned accountant and regular reader of my blog wrote that, until my last post, he had seen little discussion of the potential to manage the effective tax rate upwards. He has, however, [Read More...]

The Parable of the Good Big-Four-Congressman

U.S. Representative Scott Garrett (Republican, New Jersey) was first elected to Congress in 2002, months after the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  A couple of weeks ago, he introduced legislation that would amend S-OX [Read More...]

On the Use of “Fair” in the Auditor’s Report: A Conversation with David Damant

My previous post addressed three aspects of the auditor’s report:

The PCAOB* proposal to require a discussion of “critical audit matters”; Whether use of non-authoritative GAAP should be given special mention by the auditors; and The [Read More...]

The PCAOB on the Auditor’s Reporting Model: Great Progress and More To Do

Why is it that shareholders of the largest public companies could pay around $80 million for their boilerplate audit reports, if the shareholders of smaller public companies pay only $80 thousand for exactly the same [Read More...]

“Fairly Presented” in the Auditor’s Report—Puffery or Principle?

From the preface of Political Standards: Corporate Interest, Ideology, and Leadership in the Shaping of Accounting Rules for the Market Economy:

In subtle but significant ways, our corporate accounting system has been captured…. [Read More...]

The FASB’s New “Going Concern” Reporting Rules: A Solution in Search of a Problem

It has been, like, forever, that auditors have been issuing going concern warnings in one form or another.  Back in the days when historic cost was the sole basis for measurement of assets, and [Read More...]

The Double Illusion of Financial Statement Comparability and Auditability: Through the Lens of Falling O&G Prices

My inspirations for this post are the maiden speech of the SEC’s new chief accountant James Schnurr, and the joy of paying only $2.02/gallon at the pump.

As for Mr. Schnurr, I plan to [Read More...]