In his six years on the audit, Mark had never had any reason to give anything but a clean audit opinion for Surfer Dude Duds, Inc. But this year was different. The economy was in a mild recession, and given the faddishness of clothing trends, Surfer Dude’s retail chain was hurting. As sales decreased, Surfer Dude was struggling to meet all its financial obligations. Retail analysts foresaw continuing hard times for clothing retailers in general, and current fashion trends did not seem to be moving in Surfer Dude’s direction. As a result, Mark was beginning to doubt Surfer Dude’s ability to stay in business through the next year. In fact, after conferring with the concurring partner on the audit, Mark was reluctantly considering the addition of a going-concern explanatory paragraph to the audit report. When Mark broached this possibility with George several weeks ago, George brushed him off.
The purpose of the scheduled 3:00 meeting was to inform George of the decision to issue a going-concern report and to discuss the footnote disclosure of the issue. Mark rehearsed what he was going to say several times, but he remained uneasy about the task before him.
When Mark arrived at George Baldwin’s office, a secretary greeted him and told Mr. Baldwin of Mark’s arrival. When Mark heard George say, “Send him in,” he took a deep breath and headed into George’s office with a smile on his face. George was sprawled out in a large executive chair, with his ever-present smile. Mark always marveled at how a person could invariably seem so relaxed and happy. “Hey Mark, what’s up? You know I don’t like meetings on Friday afternoons,” George yawned.
“Well George, I’ll get right to the point. As you well know, the retail clothing market has really gone south the past few months. I know I don’t need to tell you that Surfer Dude is struggling right now.”
“I know, but we’ll pull out of it,” George insisted. “When you fall off, you’ve got to climb right back on to ride the next monster, right? We always manage to come out on top. We just need to ride this one out, just like the other times we’ve struggled.”
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