RESEARCH JOURNAL OF FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING – Complete Project Material


RESEARCH JOURNAL OF FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING

ABSTRACT

The noble profession of accounting has been under pressure due to rising public expectation (Adesina, 2003). This is a result of a series of financial failures and the distress especially in the banking sector in Nigeria. Bank managers were sacked because they acted in a manner detrimental to the interest of their depositors and creditors as the banks were said to have given out huge amount of loans without following adequate measures or precautions. The Enron Corporation saga of 200 I which was the largest corporate bankruptcy filed in the United States of America was as a result of a series of disclosures about the restatements of the company’s financial statements. The presence of such errors that required the financial statements be restated brings into focus the importance of financial statements. Financial statements present quality information on the company’s position which will be useful to a wide range of users to make economic decisions. They are formal records of the financial activities of a business, person or other entity. Financial statements provide an overview of a business or person’s financial condition in both short and the long term. Even if it is assumed that the financial statements provided are not misleading, and are relevant and reliable to the management and other users, it follows that the certainty of their quality is pursued. Auditors are the main gatekeepers for financial probity, and audit failure is one of the most important reasons why financial errors occur. Although nominally speaking, shareholders appoint auditors; this is actually up to the public company’s management, who also structures the fees and assignments of auditors. This sort of relationship between the auditors and the management brings about a conflict of interest. The perception of the auditor’s conflict of interest (lack of independence) started with a host of high profile, highly publicized corporate failures and near failures like the Enron’s, WorldCom’s etc. The public auditor is a shareholder’s first line of defense to protect the shareholder’s interest from corporate wrongdoing and financial mismanagement. Historically, however, this has been a false perception of protection. One of the major corporate rating agencies, Weiss Ratings, Inc., has completed an exam of just how false this protection has been. A key finding of the Weiss study is that auditing firms almost universally failed to warn stockholders of accounting irregularities. In fact, audit firms gave a clean bill of health to 94% of public companies that were subsequently involved with accounting problems.


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