Advanced Auditing

See the “Fred Stern & Company, Inc.” case for this question. 1)Observers of the accounting profession suggest that many courts attempt to “socialize” investment losses by extending auditors’ liability to third-party financial statement users. Discuss the benefits and costs of such a policy to public accounting firms, audit clients, and third-party financial statement users, such as investors and creditors. In your view, should the courts have the authority to socialize investment losses? If not, who should determine how investment losses are distributed in our society?   2)Auditors’ legal responsibilities differ significantly under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and the Securities Act of 1933. Briefly point out these differences and comment on why they exist. Also comment on how auditors’ litigation risks differ under the common law and the 1934 Act.   3)The current standard audit report differs significantly from the version issued during the 1920s. Identify the key differences in the two reports and discuss the forces that accounted for the evolution of the audit report into its present form.   4)Why was it common in the 1920s for companies to have only an audited balance sheet prepared for distribution to external third parties? Comment on the factors that, over a period of several decades, resulted in the adoption of the financial statement package that most companies presently provide to external third parties.   5) When assessing audit risk, should auditors consider the type and number of third parties that may ultimately rely on the client’s financial statements? Should auditors insist that audit engagement letters identify the third parties to whom the client intends to distribute the audited financial statements? Would this practice eliminate auditors’ legal liability to nonprivity parties not mentioned in engagement letters?

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