Ernst & Whinney never issued an audit opinion on financial statements of ZZZZ Best but did issue a review report on the company’s quarterly statements for the three months ended July 31, 1986. How does a review differ from an audit, particularly in terms of the level of assurance implied by the auditor’s report? Answer:
A review report does not assess the control risk of a company, which means Ernst & Whinney could have not gotten the proper risk that a material misstatement could occur within a relevant assertion. The report could have pointed out problems in the financial statements but it would not give the audit teams assurance of their accuracy. Ernst & Whinney never investigated ZZZZ Best’s internal control either, if they had done so they may have caught onto some of the fraudulent acts that were being committed. The main difference between an audit opinion and a review is an audit opinion provides assurance on the financial statements that they are accurate.
SAS No. 106, “Audit Evidence,” indentifies the principal “management assertions” that underlie a set of financial statements. The occurrence assertion was particularly critical for ZZZZ Best’s insurance restoration contracts. ZZZZ Best’s auditors obtained third-party confirmations to support contracts, reviewed available documentation, performed analytical procedures to evaluate the reasonableness of the revenues recorded on the contracts, and visited selected restoration sites. Comment on the limitations of the evidence that these procedures provide with regard to the management assertion of occurrence. Answer:
Obtaining third-party confirmation can be a good way to build evidence in an audit, but the evidence is built to the extent of what the third-party knows. In this case, ZZZZ Best had told third parties one thing but was doing a completely different thing than what
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