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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 independence in appearance and independence in mental attitude. Students are asked to identify the types of audit evidence and internal controls needed to detect and prevent the fraud, and to consider the appropriate audit response to an adverse situation. Keywords: auditing; professional skepticism; fraud; independence; internal controls; misappropriation of assets.


THE CASE ife is good, thought Will Stallard as he got into his truck that October morning. He could have been thinking of any one of a number of things—his wife of seven years, his beautiful baby girl, or his job as a staff auditor at Dykstra, Banister, and Huston (DB&H), a CPA firm with offices in Montgomery and Mobile, Alabama. Or, maybe it was the slight chill in the air and the opening of bow-hunting season in nine days. Whatever it was, his feeling of satisfaction inspired him to reflect on the path that got him to this point this morning. As a nontraditional student at a local university, he struggled to balance competing demands on his time. He maintained his business as a plumber while carrying nine hours of classes per semester. He could have made a fine living…...

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