Revision af besvigelser i teori og praksis

Gitte Funch & Lotte B. Asmussen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this thesis is to study and examine how fraud is affecting the way an auditor in theory and praxis is planning his audit and how he should prepare his auditprogramme to meet the risks. Furthermore we study how fraud is defined, who’s the typical fraudster and why a per-son commits fraud. The Danish audit standard RS240 (ajourført) regarding fraud is a translation of the international audit standard ISA 240 (revised). It defines fraud as an intentional act by one or more persons among the board of directors, employees or third parties to benefit from fraudulent misrepresen-tation. Joseph T. Wells, an American CPA and CFE use almost the same definition. Studies by the American criminal sociologist Donald R. Cressey concludes that a person’s non-shareable financial problem is the main reason for committing fraud. The typical fraudster is di-vided into three categories: Those who considers it as a loan, those who steals small amounts over a long period and at last those who takes the money and run away. Donald R. Cressey used the terms, pressure, opportunity and rationalization and invented the fraud triangle. It’s the foundation of why fraud appears in the first place. RS240 (ajourført) require that an auditor keeps a professional skepticism, which is an attitude that includes a questioning mind. Before the audit is started the audit team must discuss how exposed the entity’s financial statements are to material misstatements due to fraud. Furthermore the man-agement should make up their mind about how exposed to fraud they believe the company is. It’s also required that auditors question the management about their approach towards fraud. We have interviewed 10 auditors about how they plan their audit in consideration of RS240 (ajourført). Regarding professional skepticism they agree that it’s something you learn with time and it consists of common sense. All the respondents have some kind of discussion during the audit planning, but they don’t agree on whether the whole team should participate or not. Ques-tioning the management about fraud lacks professional structure, is not carefully prepared and is mostly done by the manager, if done at all. We believe that more experienced auditors should invest more time in discussing professional skepticism with less experienced auditors. In addition everybody could benefit from the whole team participating in the risk discussion and it would be good to spread the knowledge of the fraud triangle. The use of brainstorming techniques could help streamlining the discussion. Re-garding the managements approach to fraud the auditor must prepare them for the questioning and well prepared questions leads to an effective audit. If an auditor finds proof that the risk for fraud is increased, he should immediately modify his actions. More analytical acts in the beginning of the audit could reveal where a fraud is commit-ted, followed by extended substantive procedures in order to find actual evidence that fraud has been committed. Most of the analytical act is based on it-generated reports. To improve the auditor’s ability to reveal fraud, certain actions could be done. Especially the standard RS240 (ajourført) could be shortened or a single standard regarding audit of small enti-ties would be preferred in order for auditors to focus on full scope audit in relation to fraud for larger companies. Furthermore the management should focus on internal controls and the auditor could incorporate more unpredictability in his actions.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2009
Number of pages158