In September 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced an enforcement action against Wells Fargo related to improper sales practices. Following investigations revealing widespread abuse by thousands of employees (e.g., opening deposit and credit accounts without customer consent), Wells Fargo paid civil monetary penalties of $185 million and other substantial punitive fees and fines. This case study uses this real-world example to explore the influence of materiality on the scope of an audit, the auditor’s responsibility for detection and communication of noncompliance with laws and regulations (NOCLAR), and the auditor’s consideration of the control environment in the evaluation of internal controls over financial reporting (ICFR). After completing the case, learners are able to discuss relevant professional standards and recognize the impact of materiality considerations on decisions about financial statement misstatements, NOCLAR, and internal control deficiencies.

JEL Classifications: M41; M42.

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