Research on ‘Big 4’ and ‘non-Big 4’ audit firms (24 marks; i.e., no more than 1200 words) Audit firms are categorized in a number of ways; the two most common being the international ‘Big 4’ audit firms and the ‘non-Big 4’ (or mid-tier) audit firms.
Most audit firms maintain a website that explains the services offered by the firm and provides resources to their clients and other interested parties. The services offered by most firms include both audit and non-audit services. Required Find the websites for:
(a) a ‘Big 4’ audit firm and
(b) a ‘non-Big 4/mid-tier’ audit firm.
Present a ‘business report’ that addresses the following two requirements; (a) Compares your two audit firms on the following ten characteristics: (20 marks; i.e., no more than 1000 words)
Note, to find four ‘topics of your choice’, you will need to look-up (at least) four articles published in ‘professional’ and/or ‘academic’ accounting/auditing journals that have examined differences between ‘Big 4’ and ‘non-Big 4’ audit firms. These articles (reference sources) must be cited in your responses, and listed appropriately at the end in a reference list using APA referencing style. (b) Makes a recommendation on which audit firm your group would prefer to work for and why. Your explanation must refer to the material presented in Part 1 (a). If the recommendation of your group is ‘undecided’, then explain why, again, referring to the material presented in Part 1 (a). (4 marks; i.e., no more than 200 words)
Research on Arthur Andersen/Enron (12 marks; no more than 600 words) In 2002, the audit firm Arthur Andersen (one of the then ‘Big 5’ audit firms!) collapsed following charges brought against it in the United States relating to the failure of its client, Enron. Some other clients announced that they would be dismissing Arthur Andersen as their auditor even before it was clear that Arthur Andersen would not survive. Required (a) Using any two of the three theories outlined in Gay and Simnett (2015, Chapter 1, pages 20-21)) (i.e., the prescribed textbook) on the demand for assurance ((i) Agency Theory, (ii) Information hypothesis, and (iii) Insurance hypothesis), explain some reasons why these clients took this action. (2 x 4 marks = 8 marks; i.e., no more than 400 words) (b) Present an argument of why a similar event is not likely to happen again. Your discussion should be (i) in context of what went wrong with Arthur Anderson/Enron and (ii) make specific references to how regulations and auditing standards have changed since the collapse of Arthur Andersen. (4 marks; i.e., no more than 200 words)
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