academicediting.com

Copyediting vs. editing vs. revising

What are the differences?

In my view, a copyeditor's job is to search-and-destroy all grammar, syntax, and usage problems.  The editors who work in publishing companies or for specific journals have more responsibility--for instance, making suggestions for reorganizing books or papers.  They often encourage writers to delete entire sections or chapters, or to add new text for the sake of clarification.

I work somewhere in between.  Of course, I'm always on the lookout for ways to improve a writer's mechanics, but I also make suggestions for changes that can help the flow of ideas or logic within a text.

In all cases, the primary goal is to help you to get published or to have your dissertation or thesis approved by your committee.

Below are links to five examples of my editing style.  If this is the kind of help you are looking for, send an email to lindy@academicediting.com

accounting example

biochemistry

psychiatry

stream ecology

sociology



 

The author of this excerpt--on fraudulent financial reporting practices in American corporations--started her project a year before the Enron collapse.  It was fun to work on a project that had so much relevance to a current issue.  As a non-native English speaker, the writer struggled with the challenges of redundancy and using shortcuts for long technical terms that had to be repeated.  Here's her original:
 

LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Introduction

      The academic fraud literatures have focused largely on identifying the indicators of fraudulent financial reporting and modeling fraudulent reporting characteristics in order to assess the likelihood of fraudulent financial reporting through the reductionist audit approach (also referred as a transaction lens). Fraudulent financial reporting is defined as intentional misstatements or omissions of amounts or disclosures in preparation of financial statements, which are meant to deceive the interested parties (Braiotta, Hickok and Biegler, 1994). It is also referred to as management fraud because fraudulent financial reporting activities are articulated with high management’s supports and participation.

      In many cases, fraudulent financial reporting is done to further such management goals as inflating reported earnings. The fraudulent financial reporting practices involve the deliberate misapplication of such accounting principles as recognizing premature revenue, overstating receivables or inventory, disregarding liabilities, and shifting current expenses to future periods by capitalizing costs that should have been expensed (O’Reilly, McDonnell, Winograd, Gerson, and Jaenicke, 1998).

      For timely signaling fraudulent financial reporting practices throughout a financial statement audit, the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) in 1988 issued Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 53, The Auditor’s Responsibility to Detect and Report Errors and Irregularities. This Statement provides the primary guidance on identification of risk factors inherent in fraudulent financial reporting activities. In 1997, SAS No. 53 was replaced by Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 82, Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit. SAS No. 82 provides the more detailed guidance on identification of fraud risk factors than SAS No. 53, and adds the guidance on risk assessment of fraudulent financial reporting. Afterwards, the Committee of Sponsoring Organization (1999) and the Public Oversight Board’s Panel on Audit Effectiveness (2000) analyze the nature of fraudulent financial reporting practices, identify key symptoms of financial statement fraud, and emphasize the importance of fraud risk assessment.

      In application of SAS No. 53 and SAS No. 82, most academic researchers conduct experimental or empirical studies for identifying reliable signals of fraudulent financial reporting activities. They further apply several statistical methods to model the relation between reliable indicators of financial statement fraud and fraudulent/non-fraudulent outcomes for assessing the likelihood of financial statement fraud. Other researchers devote to studying fraudulent financial reporting characteristics in terms of industry traits and corporate governance mechanisms.

      Recent academic research proposes evaluating risk of material misstatement in financial statement assertions through the KPMG strategic-systems audit approach (also referred as the KPMG strategic-systems lens), a new auditing perspective. The KPMG strategic-systems lens is derived from the systems theory, which suggests that ‘a business organization is a complex living system whose productivity, profitability, adaptability, and ultimate survival are dependent on the strength of its intra- and interconnections- structural couplings and symbiotic alliances among the business processes comprising the organization itself, and between the organization and external economic agents’ (Bell et al., 1997, p. 15). The KPMG strategic-systems lens directs auditors to assess business and audit risks from a systems perspective in terms of the strengths of the connections between an organization’s strategies and business processes and its external environment. As an application of the KPMG strategic-systems lens, recent researchers investigate some fraudulent instances to detect fraudulent financial reporting practices in the specific industries.

In my revision, I broke up some of the writer's longer paragraphs.
LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 Introduction

      Fraudulent financial reporting practices include intentional misstatements, omissions, and lack of disclosures for the purpose of deceiving interested parties who use financial statements (Braiotta, Hickok & Biegler, 1994).  Fraudulent practices include the deliberate misapplication of such accounting principles as recognizing premature revenue, overstating receivables or inventory, disregarding liabilities, and shifting current expenses to future periods by capitalizing costs that should have been expensed (O’Reilly, McDonnell, Winograd, Gerson & Jaenicke, 1998).  Since they are articulated with the support and participation of upper management, these practices are also referred to as management fraud.  In many cases, these practices are followed to support such management goals as inflating reported earnings.

     To help with the identification of fraudulent financial reporting practices during a financial statement audit, in 1988 the Auditing Standards Board (ASB) of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) issued its Statement on Auditing Standards (SAS) No. 53, The Auditor’s Responsibility to Detect and Report Errors and Irregularities. In 1997, SAS No. 53 was revised and replaced by the much more detailed SAS No. 82, Consideration of Fraud in a Financial Statement Audit. SAS No. 82 also gave additional guidance on fraudulent financial reporting risk assessment.  Since then, the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations (1999) and the Public Oversight Board’s Panel on Audit Effectiveness (2000) have both analyzed fraudulent financial reporting practices in separate attempts to identify key indicators of fraud and to emphasize the importance of fraud risk assessment.

     To test SAS Nos. 53 and 82, academic researchers have conducted empirical studies in order to identify reliable signals of fraudulent financial reporting activities.  To assess the likelihood of financial statement fraud, they have applied several statistical methods to establish models of the relationship between those indicators and fraudulent/non-fraudulent outcomes.  Some have approached the topic from the perspective of industry traits and mechanisms of corporate governance.

     Until recently, most attempts to assess the likelihood of fraudulent financial reporting have employed a transaction lens (also referred to as a reductionist audit approach), which will be described in a later section.  Academic researchers are now evaluating risks of material misstatements in financial reports through the KPMG strategic-systems lens.  This approach grew out of systems theory, which argues that a business organization is a complex living system whose productivity, profitability, adaptability, and ultimate survival are dependent upon the strength of its intra- and interconnections—that is, structural couplings and symbiotic alliances among the business processes comprising the organization itself, and between the organization and external economic agents (Bell et al., 1997, p. 15).

     The KPMG strategic-systems lens encourages auditors to assess business and audit risks from a systems perspective—i.e., according to the strengths of connections between an organization’s strategies and business processes and its external environment.  Researchers using the KPMG approach have recently investigated confirmed instances of fraudulent financial reporting in order to analyze such practices in an industry-specific manner.


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