1. Compare and contrast the professional roles of an audit senior and a staff accountant. In your analysis, consider the different responsibilities assigned to each role, the job-related stresses that individuals in the two roles face, and how each role contributes to the successful completion of an audit engagement. Which of these two roles is (a) more important and (b) more stressful? Defend your choices.
Staff Auditor (1-3 years) performs the detail work of a financial audit under the supervision of a senior auditor.
Staff Auditors will often start to direct small audits at the two-year level. In this case, Carl Wilmeth is a staff accountant and is assigned to large-scale test of transactions that involved checking invoices, receiving reports, purchase orders and other documents. The staff auditor should complete all these detail work accurately in limited hours. And since the test of transactions is the basis of the audit work and even senior auditor would rely on the work staff done, I think it is more important to a successful completion audit engagement.
Senior Auditor (3-6 years) works under the general direction of an Audit Manager. Responsibilities include the direction of audit field work, assignment of detail work to staff accountant, and review of their working papers. Also prepares financial statements, develops corporate tax returns, and suggests improvements to internal controls. In this case, Tommy O’Connell sits in this position. He faces more stress than the staff accountant, Carl Wilmeth. He has pressures from review the audit work from staff accountant, and also the pressure from audit partner and clients.
Since the senior auditor has more power to lead the audit work than staff accountant, his or her role is more important than a staff accountant.
2. Assume that you are Tommy O’Connell and have learned that Carl Wilmeth will be working for you on the Altamesa audit engagement. Would you handle this situation any differently than Tommy did? Explain.
Since Tommy has already know how Carl would perform in an audit work, he can set a more specific time schedule for Carl to complete all the audit paperwork. And when Tommy made his effort to comprehend Altamesa’s accounting decisions for its long-term contracts, Tommy can ask Carl to prepare the documents they need and to discuss the details about the long-term contracts, which may be more time-efficient than do all the work by Tommy alone.
3. Again, assume that you are Tommy. Carl is badgering you for something to do midway through the Altamesa job. You suspect that he is not completing all of his assigned procedures, but at the time you are wrestling with an important accounting issue facing the client. What would you do at this point? What could you do to confirm your suspicions that Carl is not completing his assignments?
I would introduce him to the client, let him join the meeting with the client and ask him to give his understand about the accounting issue. This is also a way not let him go doing something else other than working. For the method to confirm the completeness of assignments, I think I would spend some time and let Carl talk to me the details about the work he did and the conclusion to the work. And if I have suspicions about any aspect, I would ask him questions to confirm. In this way, I think I would be more confident to his work.
4. Now, assume that Jack Morrison is reviewing the Altamesa workpapers. To date, you (Tommy) have said nothing to Morrison about your suspicions regarding Carl. Do you have a professional responsibility to raise this matter now with Morrison? Explain.
Yes. Although Tommy is responsible for the work Carl done and he probably be blamed by Morrison about the lack of supervise, Tommy should also consider about the accuracy of the audit work they did as a team, which include the partner auditor too. From a bigger view, the result of the audit work affects the whole firm’s reputation. Therefore, Tommy should better tell the matter to Morrison even they cannot complete the work in time.
5. Assume that at some point Tommy told Morrison that he suspected Carl was not completing his assigned tasks. The only evidence Tommy had to support his theory was the fact that Carl had come in significantly under budget on every major task assigned to him over a period of several months. If you were Jack Morrison, how would you have handled this matter?
If I were Jack Morrison as a partner auditor, I would keep an eye on the work Carl did and may send another staff accountant teamwork with Carl in the next engagement if possible.