Belverd E. Needles, Jr., Ph.D., CPA, CMA, School of Accountancy, DePaul University


Professional skepticism is an essential component of every audit. It is the foundation for detecting fraud and maintaining an independent attitude (AICPA, 2002). There has been an increased emphasis on professional skepticism in the last decade due to the large-scale accounting fraud cases that were the catalyst for regulatory reforms such as Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX) in the US, increasing complexities transactions and the expanded use of estimates and fair value which require more accounting judgement. The lack of professional skepticism has been the case of the majority of the Securitas and Exchange Commission’s enforcement actions and is a major reason for lawsuits against auditors.

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