Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE credits
Title: Auditor Independence – A field study in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa from auditors’ perspective.
Level: Final assignment for Master Degree in Business Administration
Author: Fredrik Östman and Patrik Sandberg
Supervisor: Arne Fagerström
Date: 2012 – May
Aim: The empiric material in this study was gathered in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. The auditor’s independence has been a hot topic because of the huge audit scandals worldwide. The quality of auditing is high in South Africa and the aim of this study was to discuss how auditors in South Africa secure their independence and their opinion about the different threats they come across in work.
Method: This is a qualitative study with a descriptive approach. The empirical data was collected by semi-structured interviews with eight South African auditors active in Pietermaritzburg.
Result and Conclusions: The results of this study suggest the auditors in South Africa are well aware of the independence issue and use the regulatory framework as well as basic ethics and moral values. The current legislation, CPC, is seen as a good guideline and used frequently. It seems to be accepted by both the profession and the public.
Suggestions for future research: The focus of this study is from the auditor’s point of view. A proposal for further research would be to see the issue from other angels such as different stakeholders.Another suggestion is to perform a similar study in another country and compare it with the result from this study.
Contribution of the thesis: Hopefully this study will contribute by giving auditors different individual views and perspective on the independence issue and thereby the colleagues can learn from each other.
Key words: Auditor, independence, safeguard, Code of Professional Conduct, South Africa, Qualitative method.
2012. , 51 p.