Fraud is suspected: Now what?

Journal of Accountancy by Nathan D. Salsbery, CPA, CGMA

August 1, 2022

Follow these do’s and don’ts for auditors when potential wrongdoing surfaces.

Auditors know and understand the requirements of standards regarding consideration of fraud risks. However, when faced with a real situation, it is not always easy to decide on the best course of action.

What are auditors concerned about?

ISA 240 Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit defines fraud as “An intentional act by one or more individuals … involving the use of deception that results in a misstatement in financial statements that are the subject of an audit”.

With allegations of fraud, the key consideration for an auditor is whether the fraud might result in material misstatement of the financial statements. Auditors are mainly concerned with misstatements that result from either fraudulent financial reporting or misappropriation of assets.


Notify the right people

Depending upon who is suspected of the fraud, identify the appropriate members of management or those charged with governance to contact. Notify only those client parties who need to know. Follow the communication guidance included in the standard.

Ask questions

What questions to ask? A list of questions is included in the article to assist in gathering essential facts and to understand the client’s actions and plan to investigate the suspicions or allegations of fraud.

Document your actions and determine the situation’s effect on the audit

Consider the possible outcomes of a client’s fraud investigation and its impact on the audit. How did the client respond to such allegations or suspicions of fraud? If a client does not take such allegations seriously, withdrawal from the engagement may be necessary.

Ensure audit documentation is sufficient to demonstrate adequate support for significant decisions the auditors made in response to allegations or suspicions of fraud. Read the full article here.

1 thought on “Fraud is suspected: Now what?”

  1. Morning Adel and thank you for your question.
    The article set out the processes to deal with fraud for an audit. When you compile financial statements you do not provide assurance and therefore you do not have specific responsibilities relating to identifying and addressing the risk of fraud.
    However, if you become aware of or suspect fraudulent activities you still need to communicate this to management (those charged with governance) on the correct level. This would mean that you should document your knowledge of the facts and follow a similar approach as described in the article. You would also have to consider whether management’s actions are reasonable, and whether there is a professional risk for you to compile the financial statements. If management does not react appropriately to your communication you should consider resigning the engagement.
    I hope this answers your concern.

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