Professional skepticism is a critical skill for audit and other attest services. The public places a high value on assurance services provided by an external public accountant, as the CPA’s involvement directly enhances the degree of confidence intended users can place on the financial statements to make economic decisions. A proper mindset, including professional skepticism, is a critical feature of a high-quality audit or other attest service. Professional skepticism is an essential attitude that enhances the ability to identify and respond to conditions that may indicate possible material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.
The importance of professional skepticism, especially when performing audit or other attest services. Specific fraud responsibilities in a financial statement audit. The varying levels of persuasiveness of evidence to support assurance conclusions or opinions.
Appropriate to use as a part of audit skills training for beginning auditors or as a refresher for experienced professionals on the critical role professional skepticism plays in audit and other assurance services.
Identify traits of a skeptical auditor. Recall applying professional skepticism on any assurance service. Recognize fraud, including examples of fraud indicators. Identify the auditor’s responsibility for identifying and responding to fraud in a financial statement audit.
Jennifer Louis, Surgent McCoy CPE, LLC
Jennifer F. Louis, CPA has over 25 years of experience in designing and presenting high-quality training programs in a wide variety of technical accounting, auditing, and “soft skills” topics needed for professional and organizational success. She is the principal author of audit and attest related courses for Surgent and a frequent speaker at Surgent live programs and seminars. Ms. Louis is also the president of Emergent Solutions Group, LLC, a company she founded in 2003, dedicated to developing and delivering a wide variety of accounting and auditing training services, including audit staff training, audit productivity improvement, and value-added auditing. Prior to that, she was executive vice president/director of training services at AuditWatch, Inc. Before joining AuditWatch, Ms. Louis was the financial/operational internal audit manager at AARP. While at AARP, she served as one of their specially trained facilitators available as a resource throughout the organization for designing and leading strategic meetings and training sessions. Ms. Louis was also an audit manager for Deloitte and Touche, LLP. During her years in that firm’s Washington, D.C. office, she served as an instructor for the firm’s national “Train the Trainers” program. Ms. Louis graduated summa cum laude from Marymount University with a BBA in accounting.
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