If You Need Love, Get a Puppy

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ISSUES IN ACCOUNTING EDUCATION Vol. 24, No. 2 May 2009 pp. 237–252

If You Need Love, Get a Puppy: A Case Study on Professional Skepticism and Auditor Independence
Robert L. Braun and H. Lynn Stallworth
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this teaching case is to expand students’ understanding of the concepts of professional skepticism and independence. The case is based on an actual incident and illustrates the exercise of professional skepticism by a staff auditor who finds himself in the uncomfortable situation of accusing a friend of fraud. The case demonstrates the difficult personal and professional choices that auditors must sometimes make. In analyzing the case, students consider auditor independence rules, as well as the concepts of
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Vince said, ‘‘The key on this job is to realize that they are a small municipality and they are not going to be perfect. It’s easy to get too hung up on this notion of precision and perfection that you might have gotten from the textbooks. The world doesn’t work that way. I am glad that you know Jessica. It is important for you as a first-time in-charge to have a client contact that can help you avoid blowing the budget. Her presence could go a long way toward helping you feel more comfortable.’’ Three days into the job, he was not sure he would go all the way to comfortable in describing the job so far. Yes, it was nice that Jessica was a point of contact within the organization, but she seemed somehow different at work. Then, there was the challenge of running his first engagement. He couldn’t begin to count the number of times he wanted to pick up the phone and call Vince. He had already called him twice in the first four days of the audit. Vince had been more than willing to help, and his advice helped to steer him in the right direction. Still, he felt as if he shouldn’t need the help. He missed the certainty that he had as a plumber. Although plumbing challenged his mind as well as his body, at the end of the day if the pipes fit and he
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