One gospel that is being vigorously preached in the corporate world today is the need to embrace corporate governance. Corporate governance is all about improving stakeholder value. There is need to institute well-developed international standards on best practices in the management of businesses for the benefits of all stakeholders. The existence of international standards would definitely give comfort to investors, creditors and regulatory agencies, etc., across the world. One issue that is very critical in corporate governance is the monitoring of compliance with international financial standards, which is the concern of auditing and investigation. It is as a result of this that we are X-raying this text entitled “Auditing and Investigation” this week.
It is written by Olugbemiga Olagbaiye, a 1978 graduate of Pharmacology from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria and Fellow of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN). Olagbaiye, who has been involved in student training and development since 1984, has varied experience in accounting practice in the public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy. He has also been a lecturer with the Nigerian Army School of Finance and Administration (NASFA), Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria for about two decades.
Olagbaiye says the resolve to provide enduring solutions to the difficulties experienced by students of tertiary institutions in general and those preparing for the professional examinations of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, in particular has motivated him to write this book. He assures that the book will be a very useful guide to both academics and practitioners, especially that special attention has been paid to developments that have significantly affected the auditors’ work, including recent Accounting and Auditing Standards and Guidelines.
The text is segmented into 22 chapters. Chapter one is interrogatively christened “Why audit?” Here, Olagbaiye educates that audit today involves the scrutiny of the account of an enterprise in sufficient details to ensure that the auditors can form an opinion based on truth and fairness. He stresses that auditors’ opinion will be expressed in a written report addressed either to those who have commissioned the audit or to those to whom the auditors may have a statutory responsibility.
This author also discusses the concept of stewardship. He explains that stewardship is the name given to the practice by which the productive resources owned by one person or group are managed by another person or group of people. Olagbaiye discloses that today, most businesses are operated by limited liability companies that are owned by shareholders and managed by directors appointed by them.
He also sheds light on financial statements and parties involved. In his words, “Ordinarily annual reports and accounts are produced for the attention of members of a company, i.e. the shareholders. However, a much wider range of people are now interested in these annual reports & accounts and these are: owners or shareholders; lenders or debenture holders; employees; customers; suppliers; stockbrokers….”
Chapter two is based on the subject matter of Auditing and the Company Act. In this chapter, the author X-rays different provisions of relevant statutes regulating auditing practice in Nigeria. He explains that a person will not be qualified for appointments as an auditor of a company except he is a member of a body of accountants in Nigeria established by an Act or Decree.
Chapter three focuses on audit planning. Olagbaiye says the Nigerian Standards on Auditing (NSA) 8, that is, “Planning an Audit of Financial Statements”, is the local standard that governs audit planning. He expatiates that the purpose of NSA is to establish standards and provide a guide on the considerations and activities applicable to planning an audit of financial statements. This NSA is framed in the context of recurring audits and the requirements of this standard comply substantially with ISA 300, that is, “Planning and Audit of Financial Statements”, Olagbaiye educates. He adds that planning an audit involves establishment of the overall audit strategy for the engagement and development of an audit plan in order to reduce audit risk to an acceptable low level.
In chapters four to 10, Olagbaiye beams his intellectual searchlight on concepts such as audit evidence; audit timing; the modern audit stages; verification of assets and liabilities; audit working papers; audit report; and accounting standards.
Chapter 11 examines code of ethics in auditing. This professional accountant says code of ethics is essentially a set of professional ethical standards regulating the relationship of chartered accountants with their clients, employers, employees, fellow members of the group and the public in general. According to him, in Nigeria, maintenance of ethical standards is the collective concern of the ICAN and members of the accounting profession.
In chapters 12 to 18, he analytically X-rays concepts of internal control system; internal audit; auditors’ liability; investigation; fraud and error; special audits; and share transfer audit.
Chapter 19 has thematic focus of valuation of shares. Olagbaiye educates that assets can be real or financial. Physical assets, according to him, are called “real assets”, while securities such as shares and bonds are referred to as “financial assets”. He says a well-informed, properly functioning capital market is called an “efficient capital market”.
In chapters 20 to 22, Olagbaiye examines the concepts of computer-based accounting system; public sector audit; and accountancy as an indispensable profession.
If there is one thing that stylistically underscores the strength of this book, it is the didactic mode of presentation of the highly-sequential concepts that are products of in-depth research. The mode is also complemented by the proficiency and simplicity of the language. The outer front cover design embedded with physical symbols of auditing and investigation is visually suggestive of the overall subject matter of the text.
The layout of the text is okay. In short, the packaging of this text reflects a perfect blend of Olagbaiye’s experience in the academia, as well as in the public and private sectors as he cohesively radiates the three professional backgrounds.
However, some minor errors are found in the text, which need to be corrected in the next edition. One is “Acknowledgement” (page viii) instead of “Acknowledgements”. Another is “…to enable the auditors form” (page 1), instead of “…to enable the auditors to form”. The use of the preposition “To”, with the verb “Enable” in the preceding and succeeding ways (double) is compulsory. However, the second “To” is almost always omitted in Nigerian English, probably because it is “thought” to be redundant. The use of the second “To” is a kind of correlative like “Either or” and is an obligatory transformation in syntax. Another error is “Third partie’s” (page xi) instead of “Third parties”.
Generally, this text is a treasury of auditing knowledge; a radiation of high level of intellectual acumen. It is therefore recommended to students, lecturers, auditors as well as operators and regulators in the public and private sectors.