QUESTION

“An auditor is not bound to be a detective or to approach his work with suspicion or with the foregone conclusion that there is something wrong. He is a watchdog, not a bloodhound. If there is anything calculated to excite suspicion, he should probe it to the bottom; but in the absence of anything of that kind he is only bound to be reasonably cautious and careful”. Lord Justice Lopes in the case of Re Kingston Cotton Mill Co. (1896) 2 Ch. 279, English Court of Appeal. Having regard to this statement, discuss and explain what you understand to be the role, functions, powers and duties of a company auditor paying particular attention to the following issues:

1. His “duty of care”; when it arises, to whom this is owed and the limitations this imposes on his powers and responsibilities.

2. The impact of the “corporate governance” debate and how this current issue has affected his role and duties especially in view of the requirement for the formation of “audit committees” within the boards of public listed companies under the Singapore Code of Corporate Governance (CCG 2018).

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