Enforcement release evidence on the audit confirmation process: Implications for standard setters

Diane Janvrin, Paul Caster, Randy Elder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The audit confirmation process involves obtaining evidence from third parties about information affecting financial statement assertions. Recently, the confirmation process has drawn the attention of both regulators and practitioners (AICPA, 2007a; IFAC, 2006, 2008; PCAOB, 2004) due to questions regarding whether this widely used audit procedure provides persuasive audit evidence. This paper examines confirmation-related evidence from relevant Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Releases (AAERs). Our findings integrate the confirmation process and enforcement release outcomes to provide guidance to regulators and researchers. Specifically, we found situations where fraud may have been detected if auditors had confirmed additional items such as material cash balances, marketable securities, and terms of significant transactions. We also noted (1) situations where management requested that auditors not confirm specific accounts, (2) several examples of collusion between the auditee and either vendors or customers, as well as related parties, and (3) cases involving failure to authenticate responses. Our detailed examination of enforcement release evidence provides implications for standard setters and areas for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalResearch in Accounting Regulation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • AAER evidence
  • Audit confirmations
  • Audit evidence
  • Confirmation reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • Finance
  • Sociology and Political Science


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