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Changing perceptions of the role of the company auditor

Chandler, Roy Anthony, Edwards, John Richard and Anderson, Malcolm 1993. Changing perceptions of the role of the company auditor. Accounting and Business Research 23 (92) , pp. 443-459. 10.1080/00014788.1993.9729890

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Abstract

One advantage of studying history is to explain present practice or at least to help place current phenomena in perspective. This paper seeks to explore two related themes which have proved problematic from the earliest times of company auditing in the UK: the nature of the auditor's responsibility; and the public's perception of his role. The conventional view is that auditors were initially concerned mainly with fraud detection, and that it was not until the 1930s that greater emphasis was devoted to the verification of financial statements. This study suggests that statement verification was the primary audit concern in relation to public companies as early as the 1830s, though we acknowledge that later in the century more emphasis was placed on fraud detection. We therefore see the current debate over the auditor's responsibility as merely the latest movement in a continuing and fluctuating theme. We also show that the profession has encountered great difficulty in reconciling public expectations with the practicalities of auditing. General confusion over the role of the auditor has existed to such an extent that it has been difficult even for the profession to reach agreement on the main purpose of company auditing, and the message to be sent to the investing public. In these endeavours, the accounting profession was at the same time both helped and hindered by legal developments.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting
Publisher: Routledge
ISSN: 0001-4788
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2019 02:21
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/58834

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