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Chapter 1 of your text identifies a range of Australian regulators and regulations that impact on the work of financial statement auditors and the environment in which they operate and are held accountable.
Explore the website for ONE of those Regulators: CPA Australia: https://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/
Describe and Explain how information and/or resources your exploration uncovers and illustrates (provides examples of) two (2) things you have learned from Module 1 of the unit : Professional Ethics, Auditor Independence
There are MANY areas to explore! Your exploration should focus on those areas most relevant to matters covered in Module 1. The key to your explanation is to make the link/connection between what you choose to highlight from the site and the associated matter(s) from Module 1. Remember this is about the impact of these regulators on financial report auditors.
(**) Try to make the effort to peruse other posts (if there are any) in your chosen Regulator (thread). If you notice your contribution is about information or resources already explained, it is perfectly acceptable for you to REPLY to that student’s contribution so that you are offering an alternative perspective … no two interpretations are expected to be the same! Think of this as developing a deeper and richer class discussion around the same resource(s). Equally you may feel inclined to add a further contribution if an alternative view is offered … again, the intention is for YOUR learning NOT to make this a never-ending task .
2. EXAMPLE of 1 excellence work from a mate:
Steve 16/3: REALLY well done Julie. Your contribution offers an exemplar of both the simplicity and challenge of this Task . The two issues are clearly identified; the resources and information on the chosen site are concisely & precisely presented; those resources are specifically linked to the relevant material in Module 1 by precise references to APES110 (this precision demonstrates the effort to explore those parts of the ethical guidelines!). A really good illustration of how these professional bodies are there to support our professional integrity and maintenance of professional competence and keep us accountable for exercising due skill and care.
I offer only one very minor suggestion below … and I am very comfortable for Julie NOT to attend to it … leave it as is and let the readers follow-up if they need to … an excellent ememplar.
The aim of CPA Australia, according to its Constitution, is the promotion of the ethical responsibilities and professional conduct required by its accounting, auditing, financial and advisory members in accordance with standards issued by regulatory bodies such as the Accounting Professional & Ethical Standards Board (APESB) and the Corporations Act (2001) legislation. CPA Australia provides education and advisory services to its members to ensure that they are providing their clients with services of the highest quality.
The APESB have established a Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (APES 110) that outlines fundamental principles of ethics that must be observed by all accounting professionals and which are rigorously enforced by its three member bodies; Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CAANZ); the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) and CPA Australia. As discussed in Module 1, professional ethics is a necessity in maintaining the integrity of the accounting profession (Moroney et al. 2017). CPA Australia have a clear focus in ensuring their members comply with the ethical standards and regulations contained in APES 110 and monitor compliance via a Quality Review Program. Members who fail to apply expected standards of professional ethics are dealt with by CPA Australia’s Disciplinary Tribunal. A good example of the type of disciplinary measures handed out by the Tribunal can be seen in the June 2017 hearing of Alexander Whitehead. Mr. Whitehead’s actions were deemed to have breached the ethical standards of professional competence and due care required under section 100.5 of APES 110. In addition, Mr. Whitehead was also reprimanded by CPA Australia as a result of disciplinary action taken by CAANZ which provides a clear illustration of the two professional bodies working together to uphold the reputation of accountants and auditors (this would also indicate he was a member of BOTH bodies). Cases heard by the Tribunal are published on CPA Australia’s website to act as a deterrent as well as to demonstrate to the public that the association take their duty to act in the best interests of the public seriously (APES 110 s100.1). This is an very strong recognition and connection you have offered here … the responsibility to the -public- first and foremost (NOT the client, our employer or anyone else – great pick up. Do you think such publication has an impact on other members, or just the public? In the wake of the Arthur Andersen (well done … a rare treat to see this spelled accurately!) scandal, maintaining public confidence in the work of the accounting profession is more important than ever. Ethical standards and auditor independence are key factors in achieving this.
Another key objective of the association is to provide guidance and resources to assist auditors in understanding their obligations under APES 110. Section 290.6 of the Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants outlines how auditor independence can be effected to ensure that audits and reviews are conducted with objectivity and integrity. The Code also contains a conceptual framework which members of bodies such as CPA Australia use to identify and safeguard against threats to independence during the performance of audit assurance engagements. This framework can also be applied to non-audit assurance engagements to cover independence requirements under section 291 of the Code and ASAE 3000. As discussed in Chapter 2.2 of the text, perceived and actual auditor independence is an essential component in providing credibility to financial reports (Moroney et al. 2017). To assist members in upholding auditor independence, CPA Australia have published an Independence Guide in conjunction with CAANZ and the IPA which offers a practical guide to compliance with the independence obligations in APES 110. To emphasise the importance of auditor independence, CPA Australia also provides members with internal and external resources to assist them to recognise and manage threats to independence, which augments safeguards provided in ASQC 1 and section 9 of the Corporations Act 2001.
APESB 2017, APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants, http://www.apesb.org.au/uploads/standards/apesb_standards/20092017153656_Compiled_APES_110_Sept17.pdf .
CPA Australia 2017, Accounting Professional and Ethical Standards, viewed 9 March 2017, https://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/professional-resources/accounting-professional-and-ethical-standards .
CPA Australia 2017, Auditor Independence, viewed 13 March 2017, https://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/professional-resources/audit-and-assurance/auditor-independence .
CPA Australia 2017, Consumer Information, viewed 14 March 2017, https://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/about-us/consumer-information .
CPA Australia 2014, CPA Australia Constitution, viewed 14 March 2017, https://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/~/media/corporate/allfiles/document/about/cpa-australia-constitution-2014.pdf?la=en .
CPA Australia 2017, Independence Guide, viewed 12 March 2017, https://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/~/media/corporate/allfiles/document/professional-resources/auditing-assurance/independence-guide.pdf?la=en .
CPA Australia 2017, Member Conduct and Discipline, viewed 13 March 2017, https://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/about-us/member-conduct-and-discipline/outcome-of-disciplinary-hearings/outcome-of-disciplinary-hearings-2017/mr-alexander-b-whitehead .
Moroney, R, Campbell, F & Hamilton, J 2017, Auditing: A Practical Approach, 3rd edn, John Wiley & Sons Australia Limited, Milton, QLD.
3. Another example:
CPA is recognised as one of the largest professional accounting bodies throughout the world with over 150,000 members. Becoming a CPA demonstrates high professional competence along with sound and quality knowledge within the profession. To be eligible to become a CPA it is compulsory to undertake the CPA program which includes six modules and undertake three years of work experience under the guidance of a member of CPA. CPA’s fundamental services to their members include education, training, technical support and advocacy. CPA members are bound by a firm professional code of conduct which includes a commitment to undertake ongoing professional development to ensure a high level of professional standards are preserved. Fundamental principles within the CPA code must be complied with at all times, these include: integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality and professional behaviour. These fundamental principles are covered under section APES 101 – part A. Section 100 of APES discusses the responsibility of an accounting professional to act in the interest of the public. Two aspects of module 1 to which I have gained a thorough understanding of through further investigation of CPA include the auditor’s responsibility and auditor’s independence.
As discussed in section 1.5 of the text, just as preparers of financial statements have responsibilities so do auditors (Moroney et al. 2017). Whilst an auditor is engaged to undertake an audit they must operate with professional scepticism, professional judgement and due care, this is covered under section 100.5 of APES 110. CPA (2014) released a discussion paper on professional scepticism: looking both ways on a one way street, it is an attitude. An auditor must possess a questioning mind and thoroughly examine all evidence provided. In support of this CPA (2014) suggests standing back periodically and thinking about whether there is anything inconsistent or contradictory. In addition, they must also seek independent evidence separate to verify information their client has provided. CPA (2014) discusses the importance of self-courage in order to be sufficiently sceptical, and auditor must be confident in their abilities, competence and position. Members of the three professional accounting bodies within Australia are bound by APES 110 – Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants which is issued by the Accounting Professional and Ethical Standards Board (APESB). ‘The role of APESB is to develop and issue professional and ethical standards in the public interest that apply to members of CPA Australia and the other two Australian accounting bodies’ (CPA 2018). An auditor must act with due care at all times, be diligent and apply statute-based standards outlined in the Australian Auditing Standards throughout the course of their engagement.
Independence plays a key role in and auditor remaining compliant and adhering tothe ethical standards they are bound by within APES 110. CPA members are to exercise objectivity, professional scepticism and act with integrity. In addition to this Joint Accounting Bodies (2013) comments that their members are to be straightforward and act in an honest manner in professional relationships and not allow their judgement to be undermined by bias, conflict of interest or unwarranted influence by others. Auditor independence is covered in section 290 of APES 110 ‘Independence – assurance engagements’, within this section two aspect of independence are covered, they are independence of mind and independence in appearance. Moroney et al. 2017 states that if an auditor is not independent of their client, the credibility and reliability of the financial report will be affected. In essence an auditor must not only act independently with integrity, due care and professional scepticism, they must also be perceived to be acting in an independent manner. For example, in terms of the Lakeside Company (Trussel & Frazer 2012) case study, if Abernethy and Chapman were to provide advisory services outside of the audit engagement this would taint the appearance of independence to outside parties. Non-compliance of these fundamental ethical principles can lead to disciplinary action by whichever professional body the auditor is a member of, in this context it would be CPA. All outcomes of disciplinary hearings are made public on the CPA website and can be found at https://www.cpaaustralia.com.au/about-us/member-conduct-and-discipline/outcome-of-disciplinary-hearings.