Read the case and answer the following questions
- The Enron debacle created what one public official reported was a “crisis of confidence” on the part of the public in the accounting profession. List the parties who you believe were most responsible for that crisis. Briefly justify each of your choices.
- List three types of consulting services that audit firms are now prohibited from providing to clients that are public companies. For each item, indicate the specific threats, if any, that the provision of the given service could pose for an audit firm’s independence.
- For purposes of this question, assume that the excerpts from the Powers Report shown in Exhibit 3 provide accurate descriptions of Andersen’s involvement in Enron’s accounting and financial reporting decisions. Given this assumption, do you believe that Andersen’s involvement in those decisions violated any professional auditing standards? If so, list those standards and briefly explain your rationale.
- Briefly describe the key requirements included in professional auditing standards regarding the preparation and retention of audit workpapers. Which party “owns” audit workpapers: the client or the audit firm?
- Identify five recommendations made to strengthen the independent audit function following the Enron scandal. For each of these recommendations, indicate why you support or do not support the given measure. Also indicate which of these recommendations were eventually implemented.
- Do you believe that there has been a significant shift or evolution over the past several decades in the concept of “professionalism” as it relates to the public accounting discipline? If so, explain how you believe that concept has changed or evolved over that time frame and identify the key factors responsible for any apparent changes.
7. As pointed out in this case, the SEC does not require public companies to have their quarterly financial statements audited. What responsibilities, if any, do audit firms have with regard to the quarterly financial statements of their clients? In your opinion, should quarterly financial statements be audited? Defend your answer.