The Corporate Collapse Of Harris Scarfe

Decent Essays
This essay explores the corporate collapse of Harris-Scarfe on April 3 2001, which before their collapse was Australia’s third largest retail group (Buchanan 2004, p. 55). It will explore the collapse in the context of the auditing framework. In particular, how the financial indiscretions were not discovered by the auditors, which were going on as early as six years prior to the collapse (Buchanan 2004, p. 62). To start with, we define what the auditing objective is in order to work out where it failed in this case. ASA 200.11/ISA 200.11 defines the auditing objective as one that needs to ascertain reasonable assurance that the financial report as a whole is free from misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. In doing so the auditor can give an opinion of whether the financial report was prepared in accordance with the financial reporting framework (Gay & Simnett 2012, p. 12).

For any audit engagement APES 110 section 100.5 sets out five fundamental principles that all audit members must abide by (Gay & Simnett 2012, p. 86). They must act with integrity, objectivity and not allow bias. They need to ensure professional competence, confidentiality and comply with the relevant legislation (Gay & Simnett 2012, p. 86). As such one of the principle requirements for auditors is auditor independence from their clients. In Harris-Scarfe’s case, this was not possible because the deputy chairman used to be a partner at Price Waterhouse, the firm’s auditors (Buchanan 2004, p. 69).
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