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ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES
Most healthcare organizations have an audit committee of the governing board, or a finance committee, that fulfills the audit oversight function.
Financial managers play a key role in shaping the content, agenda, and operation of the audit committee. The findings of a recent research study conducted by Arthur Andersen & Co., SC, into the best practices of audit committees have implications for healthcare organizations.
Audit committees are of critical importance in fulfilling the oversight responsibilities of governing boards with regard to an organization's financial reporting, internal controls, and external audit processes.
Because of the challenges and complexities of the current healthcare business environment - increased competition, excess capacity, litigation, reengineering, mergers, downsizing, and dramatic advances in technology - expectations for governing boards as well as for audit cFor governing boards, expectations have been raised because healthcare organizations have become more concerned about their market share and bottom line in response to increased competitive pressures over the last five years. For audit committees, expectations have been raised in the area of as fraud has become more of an issue in recent. Although the study was not conducted in healthcare organizations, per se, the findings are applicable to the healthcare environment.
Benchmarking audit committees
Responsibility for reliable financial reporting in any organization starts with top management, which establishes the financial reporting environment. Every committee needs to develop its own style and character, capitalizing on the background and experience of its members. Best practice committees are dynamic and responsive to the unique business, financial, and control risks of the organizations they serve. Such committees assess and understand this environment and the organization's system of internal controls so that they can...