Effective communication is necessary throughout the audit process. The auditor should communicate with the audit committee or others of equivalent authority to make sure that they know of any important fact such as illegal act. The communication can be oral or written. If it is oral, the nature of the communication and discussion should be documented in the audit files. If the client either refuses to accept the auditor’s modified report or fails to take appropriate remedial action concerning any matters discussed, the auditor may find it necessary to withdraw from the engagement. If the client is publicly held, the auditor must also report the matter directly to the SEC. Such decisions are complex and normally involve consultation by the auditor with the auditor’s legal counsel. Please discuss the following questions:

  1. Identify and describe the types of communication required with clients in the audit process.
  2. Do you think these communication methods are effective, and why or why not?
  3. Discuss the actions an auditor should take when the auditor discovers an illegal act.
  4. Discuss three reasons why auditors are responsible for “reasonable” but not “absolute” assurance.
  5. Distinguish between management’s responsibility and the auditor’s responsibility for the financial statements under audit.

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