Although research is often conducted by accountants in education, industry, and government, accounting, auditing, and tax research is particularly important in a public accounting firm. As a reflection of today's society, significant changes have occurred in the accounting environment. The practitioner today requires greater knowledge because of greater complexity in many business transactions, the proliferation of new authoritative pronouncements, and advances in technology. As a result, practitioners should possess the ability to conduct efficient research. An accountant's responsibility to conduct accounting/auditing research is analogous to an attorney's responsibility to conduct legal research. For example:
A lawyer should provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness, and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation.10
A California court interpreted the research requirement to mean that each lawyer must have the ability to research the law completely, know the applicable legal principles, and find “the rules which, although not commonly known,” are discovered through standard research techniques.11 Thus in the California case, the plaintiff recovered a judgment of $100,000 in a malpractice suit that was based upon the malpractice of the defendant in researching the applicable law.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has also stressed ...