Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

PwC Partner Who Blamed Staff for Audit Failure Asks That You Not Misinterpret His Tiny Notes As an Attempt To Bury His Error

If you've been following the Centro shareholder lawsuit against PwC, you know that the partner in charge of the engagement, Stephen Cougle, wasn't exactly jumping at the chance to take responsibility for any of the audit team's shortcomings. If you were to ask Mr. Coulge – and Centro lawyers did – he'd say the person responsible for a multi-billion dollar mistake is Brad Duggan, "supervising staff" for that area of the audit. Under the bus you thrown, Brad.

Blamestorming aside, Centro lawyers still had more questions for Stephen Cougle, including why he would document one of the errors in tiny font WAY at the back of the audit workpapers: 

On his fifth day under cross-examination during a class action in the Federal Court, Stephen Cougle also denied he tried to ''bury'' one of the errors by putting it in one of the small-print notes at the back of the final accounts. He repeatedly told the court yesterday he was not responsible for auditing Centro's compliance with the Australian Stock Exchange listing rules, so when the error emerged in August 2007 and two senior Centro managers said the company did not plan to disclose it via a statement to the exchange he began to ''ponder'' what else might be done. ''I just thought it was something where I was being constructively proactive in making a suggestion to them [about disclosing it],'' Mr Cougle said. […] ''I did not try to 'bury' it,'' he said ''I was one of the people trying to do the opposite.''
Plus, you know how it is at the end of the engagement when you're pressed for time and the LAST THING you want to do is re-create an entire workpaper. Sure, you might have to write in a tiny size (upside down at the top of the page) that renders it completely illegible but when you're desperate, sometimes you have to sacrifice a tidy workpaper (or an underling) to sufficiently cover your ass.

Latest Accounting Jobs--Apply Now:

Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.

Comments are closed.

Related articles

empty classroom

PwC UK Has a Soft Spot For Students Who Got Wrecked By the Pandemic

It’s no secret the pandemic screwed a lot of things up. Firms suddenly had to figure out how to manage an entirely remote work force, CPA exam candidates couldn’t test for months due to Prometric closures, and let’s not forget the poor interns and first years who had to wait for answers in Teams while […]

PwC Has a Fancy New AI Tool to Law Around With

Today is the day that PwC ushered in a new era for professional services: a global partnership with AI startup Harvey, offering PwC’s legal professionals “exclusive access” (that is, they are the only Big 4 firm who has it) to the platform. It’s a shame we had to scroll all the way to the bottom […]