Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE credits
Background for the research problems: Small companies are very important for the economic stability and development, something which the economic crises in recent years have underlined. Therefore it’s important to minimize administrative costs for smaller companies and also in other ways facilitate their further development. For these reasons accounting has been simplified and auditing abolished for smaller companies in many countries. In Sweden auditing for small companies was abolished nearly three years ago. This has resulted in a fairly large number of small companies abandoning auditing and most newly established companies have also chosen not to have auditing.
Research questions and Purpose: How have accounting consultants and auditing firms been affected by the abolishment of auditing for small companies and in which ways are they trying to handle this change? Which significance do close relations, cooperation and communication with small companies, as well as previous experiences from this cooperation, have on the effects of the changed law for auditing and how the consultants and accountants act? The purpose of this study can be summarized in the following points; to describe the influence of abolished auditing for small companies on the accounting consultants and the accountants, to increase the understanding of the effects of the amended law for auditing through finding patterns and identifying differences in the ways the consultants and the accountants act and to give a contribution to the theoretical development in the field.
Method: For this study a qualitative research method has been chosen, with deep interviews carried out in a structured form, with questions organized according to topics. The outlook is hermeneutic, since the purpose is to interpret and explain the information gathered. The procedure is abductive, with continues feed-back to the research questions.
Theory: A self-developed model – The Five C-model for Critical Incidents and Relationship Commitment – has been used to describe, interpret and explain the effects by the amended law for auditing on accounting consultants and accountants and how they have responded.
Analysis and Conclusions: A difference emerge between the accountants in the bigger accounting firms, on one side, and particularly the accounting consultants and to a certain degree also the accountants in smaller firms, on the other side. The accountants in the bigger firms have been more negatively affected by the amended law for auditing than the accounting consultants have. This is rather natural really, since abolished auditing automatically means a reduction in the number of auditing assignments. The consultants, who have established close customer contacts during a long time period, have so far not been negatively affected to any greater extent. Instead, they have found new opportunities and have as a result managed to strengthen their relations with the smaller companies even further. The accountants in the bigger firms don’t have the same close contacts with the smaller companies and have consequently not been able to use their contacts to minimize the negative effects of the change to the same extent. Instead, they are trying to persuade the companies to maintain the audit and also to compensate for the loss of audit assignments by offering other services and advice, with expertise in various fields.
2013. , 53 p.