Will the CPA firm be liable to the creditors who extended the money because of their reliance on the erroneous financial statements if Newell Corporation should fail to pay them? Explain

5-20 (Objective 5-5) The CPA firm of Bigelow, Barton, and Brown was expanding rapidly. Consequently, it hired several junior accountants,
including a man named Small. The partners of the firm eventually became dissatisfied with Small’s production and warned him they would be
forced to discharge him unless his output increased significantly.
At that time, Small was engaged in audits of several clients. He decided that to avoid being fired, he would reduce or omit some of the
standard auditing procedures listed in audit programs prepared by the partners. One of the CPA firm’s clients, Newell Corporation, was in serious
financial difficulty and had adjusted several of the accounts being audited by Small to appear financially sound. Small prepared fictitious audit
documentation in his home at night to support purported completion of auditing procedures assigned to him, although he in fact did not examine the
adjusting entries. The CPA firm rendered an unqualified opinion on Newell’s financial statements, which were grossly misstated. Several creditors,
relying on the audited financial statements, subsequently extended large sums of money to Newell Corporation.
Required
Will the CPA firm be liable to the creditors who extended the money because of their reliance on the erroneous financial statements if Newell
Corporation should fail to pay them? Explain. *

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