The long-existing gap between what the public thinks the profession's responsibilities are when it comes to fraud and what the profession's actual responsibilities are, is getting wider, rather than narrower, the chief executive of the American Institute of CPAs warned. In an update to AICPA Council members at their meeting here Monday, CEO and president Barry Melancon said that, in the post-Sarbanes-Oxley world, "the expectation of the public has changed," particularly in the area of audit function. "New gaps are developing, and in the area of fraud, the gap is widening," Melancon said. "The public's expectation that the profession has an obligation to detect fraud has moved to an expectation that maybe we ought to be preventing fraud," he told Council members. Melancon added that a new expectation gap is developing in the area of internal controls assessment, an issue that falls under SOX Section 404. At issue is what the public's -- and the courts' -- expectation is of what attestation will mean when something goes wrong.

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