Posted by Kimberly Culcay.
In the article, “What the PCAOB’s new related-party standard means for auditors,” Maria L. Murphy captures the new standard put in place by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). The new standard will require auditors to perform specific procedures that are intended to strengthen auditor performance in high-risk areas, such as significant unusual transactions and financial relationships, and transactions with executive officers. The reason behind the new standard is that in the areas of accounting mentioned above there was a lack of guidance on how to report or treat certain transactions.
The Auditing Standard (AS) No. 18 requires auditors to understand the relationships and transactions with related party transactions as if they were someone working in the company. The auditors must also understand and document the process of understanding the relationships and transactions of the company just as the internal controls of the company itself. The auditors not only have to record how they gained understanding of the relationships and transactions but the auditors must properly account for the transactions, perform procedures to test that the company’s related parties and transactions with those parties have been completely and accurately identified, accounted for, and disclosed. Before this standard, there was a vague and unstructured way of handling related party transactions. Related party transactions are a way that a company can commit fraud by transferring property to a related party thereby creating a conflict of interest. In the article, it also states that the AU Section 316, Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit, was amended to require specific procedures to identify and evaluate significant unusual transactions. The main point of amending the standards is for the professional auditors to be able to identify procedures quickly if a situation of fraud exists.
I think amending the standards of accounting to include specific procedures to prevent fraud from happening rather than a professional figuring out what to do if fraud is already done is way more useful. I also think that with the incentive to have these procedures in place, it eliminates some of the gray area of accounting. The need for Forensic Accountants has increased ever since the recession in 2008, with all of the fraud that was done due to the lack of strict standards and procedures to be able to detect fraud early. I am currently a graduate student at Montclair State University; I have been striving to complete my combined program in Accounting BS/MS with a Certificate in Forensic Accounting. Personally, I find that in the emerging economy people have learned from the mistakes made in the past with the scandals, fraud and so on. I think it is important to be a Forensic Accountant in order to apply sophisticated set skills in other aspects of accounting and litigation. I think that if you already know how to be an accountant and with some background knowledge on Forensics, then it could be easier to detect some of the common problems that lead to fraud.
Kimberly is an accounting major with a certification in forensic accounting at Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University.
Reference: Murphy, Maria L. “What the PCAOB’s New Related-party Standard Means for Auditors.” Journal of Accountancy. 22 July 2014. Web. 20 Oct. 2015. <http://www.journalofaccountancy.com/news/2014/jul/201410433.html >.