#21 Management Representations

Which of the following should be included as a written representation from management?

a. The belief that misstatements identified by the auditor and corrected are material.

b. The belief that misstatements identified by the auditor and not corrected are immaterial.

c. The belief that the financial statements are completely accurate in all respects.

d. The belief that the auditor is responsible for the fair presentation of the financial statements in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles.

b. The belief that misstatements identified by the auditor and not corrected are immaterial.

Choice “b” is correct. The representation letter should include management’s belief that the effects of any uncorrected financial statement misstatements aggregated by the auditor during the current engagement and pertaining to the latest period presented are immaterial, both individually and in the aggregate, to the financial statements taken as a whole.

Choice “c” is incorrect. Management states its belief that the financial statements are fairly presented in conformity with GAAP. Fair presentation does not mean that the financial statements are completely accurate in all respects, but that they are accurate in all material respects.

The date of the management representation letter should coincide with the date of the:

a. Auditor’s report.

b. Latest interim financial information.

c. Balance sheet.

d. Latest related party transaction.

a. Auditor’s report.

Choice “a” is correct. Because the auditor is concerned with events occurring through the date of the audit report that may require adjustment to or disclosure in the financial statements, the management representation letter should be dated as of the date of the auditor’s report.

Choice “c” is incorrect. The management representation letter is dated as of the date of the auditor’s report, which is generally after the balance sheet date.

Which of the following statements might be included among additional written client representations obtained by the auditor?

a. Management acknowledges that there are no material weaknesses in internal control.

b. Sufficient audit evidence has been made available to permit the issuance of an unmodified opinion.

c. Management acknowledges responsibility for illegal actions committed by employees.

d. Compensating balances and other arrangements involving restrictions on cash balances have been disclosed.

d. Compensating balances and other arrangements involving restrictions on cash balances have been disclosed.

Choice “d” is correct. The purpose of the management representation letter is to confirm management’s oral evidence supplied during the engagement. Specific written representations obtained by the auditor might include acknowledgment that all compensating balances or other restrictions on cash have been disclosed.

Choice “a” is incorrect. Management is responsible for the design and maintenance of internal control of the company, but it is the auditor who must determine whether material weaknesses in internal control exist.

Which of the following factors most likely would cause an auditor to question the integrity of management?

a. Management has an aggressive attitude toward financial reporting and meeting profit goals.

b. Audit tests detect material fraud that was known to management, but not disclosed to the auditor.

c. Managerial decisions are dominated by one person who is also a stockholder.

d. Weaknesses in internal control reported to the audit committee are not corrected by management.

b. Audit tests detect material fraud that was known to management, but not disclosed to the auditor.

Choice “b” is correct. Management is required to disclose all material matters to the independent auditor, including information concerning material fraud. This disclosure is so important that it is included in writing, in the management representation letter. Failure of management to disclose material fraud to the auditor would cause the auditor to question management’s integrity and perhaps even to withdraw from the engagement.

Choice “a” is incorrect. While management’s aggressive attitude certainly constitutes a fraud risk, this alone would not necessarily cause the auditor to question management’s integrity. It is possible for management to be both aggressive and ethical.

To which of the following matters would materiality limits not apply when obtaining written client representations?

a. Violations of state labor regulations.

b. Instances of fraud involving management.

c. Information about related party transactions.

d. Disclosure of line-of-credit arrangements.

b. Instances of fraud involving management.

Choice “b” is correct. Materiality limits do not apply to client representations involving management fraud. The management representation letter generally indicates that “we have no knowledge of fraud or suspected fraud involving management” (without reference to materiality). The only mention of material fraud relates to situations involving parties other than management.

Choice “a” is incorrect. Materiality limits do apply to violations of state labor regulations. The management representation letter generally indicates that there are no violations of regulations “whose effects should be considered for financial statement disclosure”−and only material effects would typically be considered for disclosure.

Which of the following management roles would typically be acknowledged in a management representation letter?

a. Management’s compensation is contingent upon operating results.

b. Management communicates its views on ethical behavior to its employees.

c. Management’s knowledge of fraud is communicated to the audit committee.

d. Management has the responsibility for the design of controls to detect fraud.

d. Management has the responsibility for the design of controls to detect fraud.

Choice “d” is correct. Management acknowledges its responsibility for the design of controls to detect and prevent fraud in its management representation letter.

Choice “c” is incorrect. The management representation letter is concerned with representations made by management to the auditors, not representations made by management to the audit committee.

A written client representation letter most likely would be an auditor’s best source of corroborative information of a client’s plans to:

a. Discontinue a line of business.

b. Terminate an employee pension plan.

c. Make a public offering of its common stock.

d. Settle an outstanding lawsuit for an amount less than the accrued loss contingency.

a. Discontinue a line of business.

Choice “a” is correct. A written client representation letter should include representations regarding matters that may affect recognition, measurement, and disclosure. Management’s plans to discontinue a line of business may affect financial statement disclosure, since the results of operations of a component classified as “held for sale” would be reported separately in the income statement under “discontinued operations.”

Choice “d” is incorrect. A letter from the client’s attorney most likely would be an auditor’s best source of corroborative information of a client’s plans to settle an outstanding lawsuit for an amount less than the accrued loss contingency.

A limitation on the scope of an auditor’s examination sufficient to preclude an unmodified opinion will always result when management:

a. Engages the auditor after the year-end physical inventory count is completed.

b. Fails to correct a material internal control weakness that had been identified during the prior year’s audit.

c. Refuses to furnish a management representation letter to the auditor.

d. Prevents the auditor from reviewing the audit documentation of the predecessor auditor.

c. Refuses to furnish a management representation letter to the auditor.

Choice “c” is correct. Management’s refusal to furnish a written representation letter constitutes a limitation on the scope sufficient to preclude an unmodified opinion.

Choice “d” is incorrect. Inability to review the predecessor’s prior year audit documentation may cause the successor auditor more work but need not preclude an unmodified opinion in the current year.

A purpose of a management representation letter is to reduce:

a. An auditor’s responsibility to detect material misstatements only to the extent that the letter is relied on.

b. The possibility of a misunderstanding concerning management’s responsibility for the financial statements.

c. Audit risk to an aggregate level of misstatement that could be considered material.

d. The scope of an auditor’s procedures concerning related party transactions and subsequent events.

b. The possibility of a misunderstanding concerning management’s responsibility for the financial statements.

Choice “b” is correct. A primary purpose of a management representation letter is to reduce the possibility of a misunderstanding concerning management’s responsibility for the financial statements. The first representation made in the letter states “we have fulfilled our responsibilities, as set out by the audit engagement dated [xxx], for the preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP.”

Choice “c” is incorrect. The management representation letter confirms oral representations made by management but does not have an effect on audit risk.