Robert Montgomery, the author of Auditing Theory and Practice, published in 1912, emphasised that the primary objective of an audit is "detection and prevention of fraud". He acknowledged in later writings that balance sheets and profit and loss accounts were the representations of management, and the function of auditors was the expression of an opinion on these representations. The detection of fraud should not be regarded as the primary purpose of a routine audit. In 1929 pronouncements by the auditing profession in the US emphasised the limitations of the audit process and management’s responsibility for preventing fraud. For more than a century there has been agreement among thought leaders on auditing and leading accounting and auditing professionals that the primary purpose of a financial statement’s audit is not the detection of fraud. But properly executed audit procedures necessary for the expression of an opinion would more than likely discover material frauds or defalcat...

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