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.
Because corporations or nonpersonal entities have no privilege against self-incrimination, it follows that corporations have no privilege against self-incrimination regarding their accountant's work papers relating to the corporation.
Second Circuit Court of Appeals had created for accountants' tax accrual work papers to comply with federal securities laws.
In the course of an audit, for example, many electronic documents and messages in various states of planning and revision can be created by all of the individuals involved as the work papers for the entire engagement are built up.
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.
Most IPA audit work papers are not sitting around in file folders, but are prepared and maintained electronically.
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.
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.