This article evaluates the effectiveness of the independent auditor’s attest function in our present-day economic society. The author first briefly describes this society as one consisting of corporations characterized by the management-shareholder dichotomy, and then sets forth his misgivings regarding the attest function in that context. Among these misgivings are: (1) the unquestioning acceptance of the corporation; (2) the acceptance of quantification as the almost exclusive basis for decision-making; (3) the accounting profession’s acceptance (encouragement even) of an “image” which is at variance from the realities; (4) the audit-firm’s expanding involvement in management services; and (5) the failure of the profession to clarify its special idiom, “generally accepted accounting principles.”
The article concludes with the author’s recommendations for change which he believes is essential to assure the continued viability of the CPA’s independent audit function.
The views expressed by Dr. Briloff in this article (which is based on a paper presented last Fall before a meeting sponsored jointly by the New York State Society of CPAs and Harpur College, at Binghamton, New York) are predicated on the research and findings incorporated in his dissertation entitled