Auditor Independence And Financial Statements

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According to ICAEW, auditor independence mainly refers to the independence of the external auditor from parties that have an interest in the financial statements of the business being audited. It requires having both integrity and an objective manner to the auditing process. In order for the concept to be deemed effective the auditor needs to carry out their work freely. One of the main purposes of auditing is to increase credibility of the entity’s’ financial statements, as they have expressed their own professional opinion on the truth and fair view in accordance with the proper accounting standards used. This is only possible if the audit is made with reasonable assurance that it has come from an independent source and has not been influenced by other parties, such as managers, directors or by conflict of interest. Lindberg and Beck (2002) claim that auditor independence is hailed as the “cornerstone” in the accounting profession as it is the core reason as to why the public trusts their professional opinion. However, since 2000, many accounting fraud scandals have negatively impacted public opinion on the legitimacy of the audit profession and, if in fact, its independence is uninfluenced by other parties. One of the scandals being the sudden collapse of Enron, given that a few months prior its bankruptcy its auditors Arthur Andersen, which was one of the five largest audit and accounting firms, claimed that Enron was financially healthy, but in fact they were paid off
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