Monthly Archives: April 2015

Apr 06

How to Overcome Cookie-Cutter Audits

By Charles Hall | Accounting and Auditing

Do audit checklists have the ability to think? Is passing peer review the full measure of quality? Might we create a pretty audit file but miss a massive fraud?

Picture courtesy of

Picture courtesy of

Many of you have told me that our profession relies too heavily upon checklists, that we no longer think as we should.

So why do CPAs place so much reliance on audit forms? My guess is we do so for the following reasons:

  • Efficiency (we believe that checklists are the plan; they need no tweaking)
  • Compliance (we believe forms will ensure compliance with professional standards)
  • Less need to supervise new staff (the checklists will tell them what to do)
  • It’s a part of a firm’s quality control system (which is a good thing)

While forms are helpful, they can’t replace the auditor’s experience and ability to reason.Continue reading

Apr 04

10 Powerful Steps to Reduce Theft

By Charles Hall | Fraud

Windows open. Curtains blowing. The sound of crickets and an occasional train in the distance. It was a simple childhood. It was my childhood. My mother parked her black Ford Falcon and left the keys in the ignition. The doors to our home were unlocked. We trusted our neighbors and they trusted us. And why would we not? We’d known each other forever.

10 Powerful Steps to Reduce Theft

But then one night at the dinner table, my father said, “someone stole Miss Gussie’s Chevy.” Unthinkable. Our innocence was broken, and soon my mother took precautionary measures. Each evening, after parking, she would place the car keys under the car seat. No need to take chances. We began to close the windows at night, but still the back door was left unlocked in case my father needed to go out for a smoke.

A couple of months later, I overheard my mother whispering to my grandmother that a man slithered into Miss Kidd’s house in the dead of night and had taken valuables. Miss Kidd lived diagonally from our home, just a stone’s throw away. To think that someone just walked–unannouncedinto the octogenarian’s home. How could this be?

Fear was palpable. Our neighborhood’s character shifted. No longer would Mom leave the keys in the car. No longer would we leave the windows open. No more cricket sounds. And my father even locked the back door.

Safely we would sleep, not because there were no threats, but because of protection.Continue reading