Work papers may also be subpoenaed by a court as part of an investigation, as was done in the Coingate case.
State Auditor Betty Montgomery expressed her support for public access to IPA work papers, noting those produced by her staff are already open to the public.
From an accounting firm's perspective, the bottom line is also an issue: unlike state government, IPAs do not enjoy sovereign immunity from lawsuits for information contained in the work papers.
However, Montgomery also reportedly recognized the added regulatory burden of opening the work papers to review, and the very real possibility that accounting firms would be less willing to take on government audits.
The Ohio Society of CPAs succeeded in changes to Ohio law in both 1991 and 1998 to keep work papers private to maintain the free flow of information between the client and auditor and to help contain litigation.
Do not keep review notes in your work papers past the time they have some value.
However, most courts allow ajury to infer from a firm's destruction of work papers that those papers would have demonstrated malfeasance.
Two other bills pending in the legislature, HB 9 and SB 302, would make the work papers public record, though HB 9 would impact only future audits.
If any of the three bills were to pass, they would repeal existing Ohio law that protects work papers used to prepare audits of governmental units.
Important factors that could cause actual results or events to vary materially include the Company's ability to gain access to its predecessor auditor's work papers
in a timely manner, delay in Ernst & Young LLP's review of the predecessor auditor's work papers
and internal delays in the filing of the 10-Q.
Would require audit work papers to contain sufficient documentation to enable a reviewer "with relevant knowledge and experience, but having no previous connection with the engagement," to completely understand the audit.
Would require audit work papers to be retained for seven or more years.