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Managing Business Conflicts

Let's say that you're part of an audit team and you're just beginning the brainstorming session with five of your colleagues who are also going to be working on the engagement. You're a senior associate on the audit. In the meeting, you have one audit partner, one audit manager, two senior associates (you and one other), and two new beginner level associates.

As the meeting begins, the audit partner is clearly somewhere else mentally. He's constantly checking his phone and even excuses himself from the meeting to take a call. The audit manager and other senior associate seem to be friends as they just finished another large engagement together. They are clearly moving toward a group domination and groupthink mode as they do not thoroughly examine the key opportunities for fraud on the current engagement. The two new associates have little experience and are simply taking notes.

How should you handle this situation?

Solution Preview

The main point of focus in this scenario needs to be on the audit partner. He or she has the authority, control, and experience to bring the team back together as he/she should be doing on his or her own. The senior audit partner's behavior is the main issue, and if the partner's behavior can be brought back into the group's focus, the team has a chance of regrouping together for an optimal situation that includes team productiveness on the current audit. ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains how an auditor should handle the auditing scenario based on the facts given. A thorough discussion is provided.