The History of Auditing in the United States Essay

What is Auditing ; in short Auditing is an scrutiny of records or fiscal histories to look into their truth. Auditing has been around for centuries and has evolved into one of the most of import parts of an entity, guaranting that a concern information has been recorded accurately. Laws and ordinances have evolved into some of the most of import events in the history of the United States. Auditing has besides been a great portion of Americas long history and has had its ain portion of Torahs, events, and people among other things in the United States.

A Brief History of Auditing

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The definition of auditing is self explanatory even though the beginning of scrutinizing was really different than what it is now. Centuries ago the maestro ( hearer ) would necessitate the steward ( client ) to inform him of what minutess had taken topographic point and study to the maestro what he had done with the wealth in which he was entrusted by the maestro. Therefore the maestro was known as the hearer or hearer: “ So the word ‘Auditor ‘ ( derived from the Latin word audire, to hear ) acquired a 2nd significance: ‘one who satisfies himself as to the truth of the accounting of another ‘[ 1 ]. Before it was the ( AICPA ) American Institute of Certified Public Accountants it was the American Association of Public Accountants ( AAPA ) in late 1800 ‘s.

Auditing was chiefly used for governmental accounting, and record maintaining was its chief focal point. It was this manner until the industrial revolution,1750 to 1850, that scrutinizing began lifting into its ain nucleus of fiscal answerability and fraud sensing. During this period concerns were spread outing quickly because of the prosperity in the U.S. The growing led to an addition in occupations places among proprietors and consumers. This led to the hiring of directors by proprietors in their absence, which in return caused proprietors to increase the monitoring of their fiscal actions for two things, truth and fraud bar. In the early 1900 ‘s the pattern of auditing, which involved coverage of their duties and findings was standardized as the “ Independent Auditor Reports ” .

Addition in petitions for hearers lead to the development of the proving procedure. Hearers developed a manner to tactically choose cardinal instances as representative of the company ‘s overall public presentation. This was an low-cost option to look into every instance in item, and it required less clip than the standard audit[ 2 ]. All scrutinizing work was done by manus in the early twentieth century until the computing machine came along every bit is described in the transition by Tracey Miller:

“ The reaching of the computing machine on the corporate scene in the late fiftiess changed everything. Since accounting was the first application used in the concern universe, a house ‘s CPA was the natural shoulder to turn to in understanding this new appliance. IT confer withing – which has since boomed into a multi-million dollar industry for accounting houses – was born ”[ 3 ]

Events in Auditing

Possibly the innovation of the computing machine helped companies and little concerns organize their stock lists and fiscal statements, they besides made it easier for companies to calculate out techniques to lead on the system to their advantage. We have to understand that fraud and misleading statements have been around the concern field for centuries and will go on to surround the field in the hereafter. The entreaty for corporations to raise bottom line Numberss in order to do the company seem healthier than what it truly is, is one of the hardest enticements to get the better of. There have been many events in the history of scrutinizing that have molded the pattern of scrutinizing as a whole.

One cardinal event in scrutinizing history was the ruin of WorldCom, one of the largest telecommunications company in North America and was one time deserving good over 150 billion dollars. The proprietor of the company Bernard J. Ebbers was responsible for the death of the one time booming corporations. Ebbers was the chief designer in destructing the company by making an 11 billion dollar accounting strategy that left the company in shambles. This resulted in investors, employees, and others to lose out on wellness insurance, pensions every bit good as investings. It was one of America ‘s largest economic failures since its assets were numbered at 107 billion dollars when the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2002. Ebbers was convicted of securities fraud and falsification financials studies which lead the company to fall into a cavity of false Numberss, liability, flaccid stock, and web overfilling. When WorldCom collapsed it besides brought down many others little communicating companies due to the smaller companies trying to maintain up with the turning WorldCom[ 4 ].

Another event in the history of scrutinizing and possibly the most ill-famed of them all was that of Enron Corporation in Houston, TX. In 1985 Houston Natural Gas merged with InterNorth to make Enron and became the largest natural gas merchandiser in the United States, headed by Ken Lay and Jeff Skulling. In 2000, Enron stock reached a record high of 90 dollars a portion and in 2001 the one time booming stock hit a bottom depression of less than $ 1 a portion. By this clip Enron ‘s beginning of the terminal has begun, the company reports $ 638 million loss in the 3rd one-fourth and besides releases a $ 1.2 billion lessening in stockholder ‘s equity in the same twelvemonth. By the terminal of 2001 the one time unstoppable energy trading company files for Chapter eleven bankruptcy protection and ballads of over 4,000 employees. Many of the company ‘s employees which include Enron comptrollers, head bargainers, CEO, helper financial officer, financial officer, COO and many others are arrested and put on test for assorted accusals. The accusals stem from confederacy to the use of California ‘s electricity markets to fraud.

In the terminal, cipher would hold of all time imagined that the laminitiss of the tremendous corporation that was Enron would ensue dead and in gaol. Ken Lay died of a bosom onslaught months before his condemning hearing and Jeff Skilling was sentenced to 24 old ages in prison which was one of the harshest sentencing ‘s of all time handed down for a offense of such magnitude in the United States. Enron ‘s death consisted of many things from deceitful accounting to irresponsibleness of directors non supervising their subsidiaries. Enron was one of the worst dirts in corporation history and an embarrassment to the United States. It could hold all been prevented if the right stairss would hold been taken in the first topographic point. Enron was used as a stepping rock for lawgivers to present the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002, which chief focal point was to protect possible investors, the populace and stockholders[ 5 ].

In another similar event, rehabilitation infirmary operator Health South was under probe by the SEC and the Justice Department for exaggerating net incomes by more than two billion dollars in 1999. In the terminal laminitis Richard M. Scrushy was put in gaol for a short period of clip and was ordered to pay 2.87 billion dollars for the fraud of HealthSouth. These state of affairss are merely some illustrations of how corporations took advantage of the trust granted by the SEC to a company ‘s accounting section. Not merely that, it besides shows that when trust is put into the custodies of people with greed and love of money, a state of affairs can turn awful one. It will destroy the lives of non merely the employees of the concern but besides the lives of those closest to each of the persons.

Procedure of an Audited account

When scrutinizing a concern or corporation there is a process that must be followed to guarantee the best consequences possible from the audit. This process has been used for decennaries in the auditing field, with some accommodations made along the manner. If an hearer does non be after an audit decently so the hearer puts himself at hazard to supply a unsatisfactory decision of the client being audited. Even if the hearer takes all the recommended stairss to measure a client decently it does non vouch that the result will be unflawed. Demonstrated below are the three most of import stairss of an audit. The three stairss are described by writers Rittenberg, Johnstone, and Gramling:

“ Understanding Client and Industry: Preliminary Planning and Risk Analysis

Assess Risk of Material Misstatement: Understand and Test Internal Controls and System Processing.

Test Details of Account Balances and Transaction ”[ 6 ]

Laws in Auditing

In the wake of the Stock Market Crash of 1929 the authorities decided to implement a new jurisprudence that would protect possible investors from fraud or information that may be misdirecting. The Securities Act of 1933 was enacted by Congress ; the jurisprudence required that investors obtain important figures refering securities being offered for sale to the populace. As stated in the Securities Act of 1933 a Security is:

“ any note, stock, exchequer stock, security hereafter, bond, unsecured bond, grounds of liability, certification of involvement or engagement in any net income sharing understanding, indirect trust certification. . . . . or, in general, any involvement or instrument normally known as a ”security ” , or any certification of involvement or engagement in, impermanent or interim certification for, reception for, warrant of, or warrant or right to subscribe to or buy, any of the foregoing. ”[ 7 ]

The Act besides entitles people who sell and trade securities ( agents, traders, etc… ) need to care for investors truthfully and practical while seting the investors ‘ involvement foremost. Even with the new Torahs in topographic point to protect investors and purchasers, a higher power was needed to supervise that the Torahs were being implemented and operated decently.

To supervise the new Act, Congress implemented The Securities Exchange Commission in 1934 which was put in topographic point to implement the federal securities Acts of the Apostless and modulate the securities industry, stock and options, and other markets in the United States. The SEC was besides given the power to revise any act in order to maintain it efficient. SEC has the authorization to convey enforcement actions against persons or companies that have been alleged of perpetrating accounting fraud, supplying false information, or holding an unjust advantage over the public. Harrison explains how the SEC is made of in his book:

“ composed of five commissioners appointed by the President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. Not more than three of the commissioners may prosecute in any other career or take part in any stock market dealing of a character which is capable to ordinance by the Commission. Each committee receives a wage of 10,000 a twelvemonth, and holds off for five old ages, except the commissioner foremost appointed, who will keep office for one, two, three, four and five old ages severally, and commissioners appointed to make full a vacancy, who will keep office for the balance of the term of their several predecessors. ”[ 8 ]

The Securities Act of 1933 is non the lone act that the SEC oversees, it is besides in charge of oversing the Trust Indenture Act of 1939, Investment Company Act of 1940, the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, and possibly the most of import Act of all, the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002.

The ruin of Enron and WorldCom was due to misdirecting fiscal information and fraud among other things. This led Congress to the creative activity of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002. The new jurisprudence received its name from Senator of Maryland and U.S. representative, Paul Sarbanes and Michael Oxley severally. Not all the incrimination should fall on these two companies, since there had already been other cases of the same nature in the corporate universe. The Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002, better known as SOX, was put in topographic point to chiefly protect the investing populace. As stated by Rittenberg:

“ In these companies and, unluckily in many others, important operational failures were covered up with cagey accounting frauds that were non detected by the public accounting houses. The imperativeness, Congress, and the general public continued to inquire why such failures could hold occurred when the public accounting profession had been given the exclusive licence to protect the populace from fiscal fraud and misdirecting fiscal statements. ”[ 9 ]

The chief end of the Sarbanes Oxley Act was to look into deeper into a company ‘s records so that no uncertainty would be left in the head of possible investors and the populace. One of the demands of SOX is that both the CEO and CFO certify the fiscal statements and the revelations in those statements. In the past, certain persons would verify the work being done by the accountant staff, whereas now two of the chief forces in charge must reexamine and accept what is presented to them. Another demand is that a company establishes an effectual “ whistle blowing plan ” whereby of import misdemeanors of the company ‘s ethical codification ( including those related to accounting transparence ) are reported to the appropriate degrees of the organisation and the audit commission. This demand is really self explanatory ; it means that an entity will hold a confidential spell to service, being a phone figure, director or electronic mail where an employee can travel if he/she is cognizant of fraud or unethical actions in the workplace. Another demand empowered the audit commission to be the formal

audit client, with duties to engage and fire its external hearers and preapprove any non audit service provided by its external hearers ; audit commissions must besides publically describe their charter and issue and one-year study on their activities. This demand means that an hearer is non allowed to execute any other services that are non a portion of the audit.

Congress has decidedly played a function in the accounting and auditing field and has done so for a good ground. If Torahs and ordinances, like the Sarbanes Oxley Act, had non been put in to protect mundane investors and the populace, who know how many other concerns and corporation would hold failed to day of the month. The Torahs that Congress has placed have come a long manner from the Securities Act of 1933 to the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002. The authorities has tried its best to protect the United States and its citizens from improper and avaricious persons.

Peoples and Organizations in Auditing

In scrutinizing history at that place have been of import characters, every bit good as different persons that make up commissions and organisations that have affected the scrutinizing universe as whole. For illustration, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board ( PCAOB ) is non made up of a individual person instead it is made of five members, which merely two of the members can be CPAs. The PCAOB has the power to put criterions for audits of public companies. The Board is merely an illustration of different people coming together to do it a whole organisation.

One of the most celebrated auditing houses in U.S. history is Arthur Anderson ‘s audit house. The house is most famously known for the Enron dirt, which led to the death of the onetime respected auditing house. The company made irrational determinations which led it to where it is now. The original laminitis of the company possibly foreshadowed the hereafter for his company, Squires describes Arthur Andersen in her book: “ The house would shortly germinate into a dynamic, sprawling, more aggressive multiservice organisation with clients willing to skate of all time so closer to the border or hazard. ”[ 10 ]Although Andersen was non alive to see the prostration of his once affluent company, his name will travel down in history books and will everlastingly be mentioned as an illustration of what non to make in auditing.

Since the foundation of scrutinizing was laid down, there have been Certified Public Accountants watching company ‘s records. A CPA is every bit of import to the scrutinizing field as a backstop is to a hurler in baseball. Without one or the other a service can non be performed at its fullest potency. CPAs are overseen by audit commissions to maintain hearers honest and on path. The audit commission should have regulative audit studies and sporadically run into with the regulative hearers to discourse their findings and their concerns[ 11 ]

Audited account commissions have been around since the early 20th century, and were endorsed by the New York Stock Exchange ( NYSE ) and the SEC to supervise public companies. The commissions would be another signifier of analyzing companies and non direction forces would be in charge. This manner there is no bias toward any company and all are treated as equal.

Both internal and external auditing services have been around for some clip now. External auditing has been around slightly longer, they are both every bit of import to a company or corporation. External hearers have been used for 100s of old ages, though the type of work is more complex now than it was earlier. Internal hearers are chiefly used to maintain path of the company on the interior, so to talk. Internal hearer audit the company ‘s conformity with policies and Torahs, audits the rating of efficiency of operations among other things.

Auditing has collected its portion of events, people, Torahs, and organisations throughout its history ; although I besides believe that much of its history still has to be written. CPAs, the PCAOB, Audit Committees, Arthur Andersen, Enron, WorldCom are merely a intimation of the long history that scrutinizing has in the United States. There are many other events that have occurred and helped make scrutinizing into what it is today. There are still proceedings that need to be played out, new Torahs, and ordinances that need to be written for scrutinizing. As an accounting major I merely hope to be blessed adequate to be a portion of the rich hereafter that is Auditing.


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