Lew Pherson and Vera Collier are friends who are employed by different CPA firms. One day during lunch they are discussing the importance of internal control in determining the amount of audit evidence required for an engagement. Pherson expresses the view that internal control must be evaluated carefully in all companies, regardless of their size or whether they are publicly held, in a similar manner. His CPA firm requires a standard internal control questionnaire on every audit as well as a flowchart of every transaction area. In addition, he says the firm requires a careful evaluation of the system and a modification in the evidence accumulated based on the controls and deficiencies in the system. Collier responds by saying she believes that internal control cannot be adequate in many of the small companies she audits; therefore, she simply ignores internal control and acts under the assumption of inadequate controls. She goes on to say, "Why should I spend a lot of time obtaining an understanding of internal control and assessing control risk when I know it has all kinds of weaknesses before I start? I would rather spend the time it takes to fill out all those forms in testing whether the statements are correct."
a.Express in general terms the most important difference between the nature of the potential controls available for large and small companies.
b. Criticize the positions taken by Pherson and Collier, and express your own opinion about the similarities and differences that should exist in understanding internal control and assessing control risk for different-sized companies.
c.Discuss whether Collier's approach is acceptable under existing auditing standards for either public or non-public companies.
d.Describe what additional procedures Pherson must perform if auditing the financial statements of a public company.
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