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Client Employment of previous Auditors: Banks' Views on Auditor Independence
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Business Administration. (Heidrun Schlaich & Max Ziegler)
Karlstad University, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Communication and IT, Department of Business Administration. Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg. (Heidrun Schlaich & Max Ziegler)
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Through the audit of annual reports, auditors contribute to the credibility of financial information. To ensure trustworthiness, the auditor has to be independent from the audited company. Auditors’ independence has been a very broadly discussed topic for many years. The most discussed threat to auditors’ independence is the provision of non-audit services by audit firms. But there are other threats to auditors’ independence besides the provision of non-audit services, which are not that frequently discussed so far. There is a tendency that companies hire employees of their current audit firm, which can imply a threat to auditors’ independence. This threat is addressed in the present research paper.

The purpose of this paper is to examine if banks, as important capital providers, are aware of the threat to auditors’ independence through the client employment of previous auditors.

This study uses qualitative data, collected by a web-based self-completion questionnaire with open questions. This questionnaire was sent out to corporate account officers in German banks via email.

The analysis of these results shows that banks perceive the client employment of previous auditors as a threat to auditors’ independence. But even though banks perceive this as a threat, most of the respondents do not see any possibility to counteract the dangers posed by such a move. The main reason is the missing capability to gather knowledge about the employment behavior of a company. Hence, the client employment of previous auditors often stays undetected. Such a move may affect the mind-set of the bankers in a theoretical way, but has no influence regarding their daily business with the customer firms.

Different measures exist to counteract the threat to auditors’ independence as well as the negative impacts caused by the client employment of previous auditors. These countermeasures refer to all three parties – (I) the company, (II) the audit service providers and (III) the bank. Especially regulation, both of the audit and the bank, but as well voluntary acting can be consulted.

Further research needs to be done in order to proof the results of this study preferably in a quantitative way. An extension to how banks act instead on looking how they perceive the client employment would be interesting in order to draw more conclusions and develop further countermeasures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 70 p.
Keyword [en]
Accounting, Auditors' Independence, Auditor, Audit
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-32751OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-32751DiVA: diva2:727430
Subject / course
Business Administration
Educational program
Master Programme in Accounting and Control: Master (60 ECTS credits)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2014-06-23 Created: 2014-06-20 Last updated: 2014-06-23Bibliographically approved

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