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Home » » Companies (Auditor's Report)(Amendment) Order, 2004 - Clause 4(xxi)

Companies (Auditor's Report)(Amendment) Order, 2004 - Clause 4(xxi)

Written By Admin on Sunday, 1 April 2012 | Sunday, April 01, 2012

Clause 4(xxi)

whether any fraud on or by the company has been noticed or reported during the year; If yes, the nature and the amount involved is to be indicated.  

1) This clause requires the auditor to report whether any fraud has been noticed or reported either on the company or by the company during the year. If yes, the auditor is required to state the amount involved and the nature of fraud. The clause does not require the auditor to discover the frauds on the company and by the company. The scope of auditor’s inquiry under this clause is restricted to frauds ‘noticed or reported’ during the year. The use of the words “noticed or reported” indicates that the management of the company should have the knowledge about the frauds on the company or by the company that have occurred during the period covered by the auditor’s report. It may be noted that this clause of the Order, by requiring the auditor to report whether any fraud on or by the company has been noticed or reported, does not relieve the auditor from his responsibility to consider fraud and error in an audit of financial statements. In other words, irrespective of the auditor’s comments under this clause, the auditor is also required to comply with the requirements of Auditing and Assurance Standard (AAS) 4, “The Auditor’s Responsibility to Consider Fraud and Error in an Audit of Financial Statements”.

2) The term "fraud" refers to an intentional act by one or more individuals among management, those charged with governance, employees, or third parties, involving the use of deception to obtain an unjust or illegal advantage. Although fraud is a broad legal concept, the auditor is concerned with fraudulent acts that cause a material misstatement in the financial statements. Misstatement of the financial statements may not be the objective of some frauds. Auditors do not make legal determinations of whether fraud has actually occurred. Fraud involving one or more members of
management or those charged with governance is referred to as "management fraud"; fraud involving only employees of the entity is referred to as "employee fraud". In either case, there may be collusion with third parties outside the entity. In fact, generally speaking, the “management fraud” can be construed as “fraud by the company” while fraud committed by the employees or third parties may be termed as “fraud on the company”.

3) Two types of intentional misstatements are relevant to the auditor's consideration of fraud—misstatements resulting from fraudulent financial reporting and misstatements resulting from misappropriation of assets.

4) Fraudulent financial reporting involves intentional misstatements or omissions of amounts or disclosures in financial statements to deceive financial statement users. Fraudulent financial reporting may involve:

(i) Deception such as manipulation, falsification, or alteration of accounting records or supporting documents from which the financial statements are prepared.

(ii) Misrepresentation in, or intentional omission from, the financial statements of events, transactions or other significant information.
 
(iii) Intentional misapplication of accounting principles relating to measurement, recognition, classification, presentation, or disclosure.

5) Misappropriation of assets involves the theft of an entity's assets. Misappropriation of assets can be accomplished in a variety of ways (including embezzling receipts, stealing physical or intangible assets, or causing an entity to pay for goods and services not received); it is often accompanied by false or misleading records or documents in order to conceal the fact that the assets are missing.

6) Fraudulent financial reporting may be committed by the company because management is under pressure, from sources outside or inside the entity, to achieve an expected (and perhaps unrealistic) earnings target particularly when the consequences to management of failing to meet financial goals can be significant. The auditor must appreciate that a perceived opportunity for fraudulent financial reporting or misappropriation of assets may exist when an individual believes internal control could be circumvented, for example, because the individual is in a position of trust or has knowledge of specific weaknesses in the internal control system.

7) While planning the audit, the auditor should discuss with other members of the audit team, the susceptibility of the company to material misstatements in the financial statements resulting from fraud. While planning, the auditor should also make inquiries of management to determine whether management is aware of any known fraud or suspected fraud that the company is investigating.

8) The auditor should examine the reports of the internal auditor with a view to ascertain whether any fraud has been reported or noticed by the management. The auditor should examine the minutes of the audit committee, if available, to ascertain whether any instance of fraud pertaining to the company has been reported and actions taken thereon. The auditor should enquire of the management about any frauds on or by the company that it has noticed or that have been reported to it. The auditor should also discuss the matter with other employees of the company. The auditor should also examine the minute book of the board meeting of the company in this regard.

9) The auditor should obtain written representations from management that:
 
(i) it acknowledges its responsibility for the implementation and operation of accounting and internal control systems that are designed to prevent and detect fraud and error;

(ii) it believes the effects of those uncorrected misstatements in financial statements, aggregated by the auditor during the audit are immaterial, both individually and in the aggregate, to the financial statements taken as a
whole. A summary of such items should be included in or attached to the written representation;

(iii) it has disclosed to the auditor all significant facts relating to any frauds or suspected frauds known to management that may have affected the entity; and

(iv) it has disclosed to the auditor the results of its assessment of the risk that the financial statements may be materially misstated as a result of fraud.

10) Because management is responsible for adjusting the financial statements to correct material misstatements, it is important that the auditor obtains written representation from management that any uncorrected misstatements resulting
from fraud are, in management's opinion, immaterial, both individually and in the aggregate. Such representations are not a substitute for obtaining sufficient appropriate audit evidence. In some circumstances, management may not believe that certain of the uncorrected financial statement misstatements aggregated by the auditor during the audit are misstatements. For that reason, management may want to add to their written representation words such as, "We do not agree that items …… and ….… constitute misstatements because [description of reasons]."

11) Where the auditor discovers that any fraud on or by the company has been noticed by or reported to the management, the auditor should, apart from reporting the existence of fraud, also report the nature of fraud and amount involved. The following is an example of reporting under the clause:
 
“We have been informed that the accountant of the company had misappropriated funds amounting to rupees ten lakhs during the preceding year and the year under audit. Investigations are in progress and the accountant has been dismissed and arrested. The company has withheld his terminal benefits and it is estimated that the amount misappropriated may not exceed the terminal benefits due to the accountant. The company is also adequately covered by fidelity insurance cover."
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