Arguments against the value of audits Essay

The accounting profession has confronted uncertainty on value of their fiscal coverage because of the reveal of fiscal dirts ( Enron, WorldCom ) in recent old ages. Most economic experts and investors blame hearer ‘s inability to bring forth independent and dependable fiscal information and detect direction fraud. For illustration, Cousins et Al. ( 1998 ) criticized UK hearers for gaining 1000000s of lbs due to statutory monopoly advantage but non observing and informing stockholders and investors about possible fiscal jobs, which had later led to prostrations of BCCI, Queens Moat Houses etc. and tremendous losingss of occupations, bank sedimentations. This essay shed visible radiation on literatures related to the value of audits by reexamining statements that for and against the value of audits, and draws attending on the independency of hearers and explored the impact of the proviso of audit and non-audit services on hearer independency. Additionally, the value of audits is comprehensively explained from different positions of parties including users of fiscal coverage, the client and hearers themselves.

Arguments against the value of audits

The prostration of Lehman Brothers in 2008 files the biggest bankruptcy in USA ‘s history, its hearer, Ernst & A ; Young, has been criticized by helping the company pull stringsing balance sheet and hiding legion losingss along with Lehman Brother ‘s former CEO, former CFO and former Executive Vice President, hence consequences in misdirecting information for investors. Anton Valukas, the court-appointed tester, indicated that Ernst & A ; Young was negligent and its audits did non run into US accounting regulations ( AccountancyAge, 2008 ) .

Audited accounts are non valuable because there is general confusion over the function of hearers stopping points for many old ages and can be explained explicitly by the term of outlook spread. Expectation spread issues when the audit profession and users of stockholders hold different perceptual experiences about the public presentation. By and large, when a company has terrible fiscal jobs, hearers are expected by the populace to be responsible for the fiscal crisis. Baron et Al ( 1977 ) found that hearers and users of fiscal information clasp dramatically different outlook on the function and duties for observing fraud and unwraping information about illegal behaviour. Users expected hearers to be more accountable for these responsibilities than hearers perceived themselves to be. The caput of Deloitte, William Parrett (, 2005 ) , expressed troubles in detection and forestalling company fraud when it was conniving and involved with senior direction. Hearers are perceived by the populace to be police officers of the company, which has exceeded the ability that hearers could make in world ( Koh and Woo, 1998 ) .

After reexamining the outlook spread between hearers and the populace, so shall we remind the original and inaugural function of hearers. In a principal-agent relationship, stockholders delegate some determination doing authorization to managers to move in the best involvement of stockholders, nevertheless, struggles of involvement originating from the bureau relationship as information dissymmetries and manager ‘s timeserving behaviours, managers may supply biased information to stockholders and benefit themselves in the disbursal of stockholders. Therefore, the function of hearers is to look into fiscal information provided by managers on the footing of truth and equity and to supply an independent position to stockholders. During the procedure of scrutinizing, hearers act as agents of stockholders, complex issues and jobs so have emerged. Hearers may hold their ain involvement and therefore can non execute their occupation on a true and dependable footing which will take to extra costs to stockholders ( ICAEW, 2005 ) .

Hearers are expected to move in the best involvement of external stakeholders instead than the client who hire and pay for scrutinizing service. Some journalists and economic experts suggested that the audit procedure is non valuable because hearer ‘s independency is significantly affected by the force per unit area imposed by the client. Bazerman et Al ( 1997 ) explicitly indicated that it is psychologically impossible for hearers to keep independency and objectiveness due to restrictions from the procedure of scrutinizing. The manager ‘s power to engage and fire hearers and hearers ‘ self-seeking involvement consequence in the deceit intentionally or unconsciously. Hearers need to keep a close relationship with clients non merely for bring forthing appropriate information to finish work swimmingly, but besides for prospective watercourses of economic benefits. Myers et Al ( 2005 ) found that the longer the auditor-client relationships are, the more likely the clients to articulate income-increasing misstatement and nucleus net incomes misstatement. Beeler and Hunton ( 2002 ) conducted a survey of 73 audit spouses of the Big-Five CPA houses to bespeak the influence of two signifiers of contingent economic rents ( low-balling and possible non audit gross ) . The consequence showed that in the presence of contingent economic rents, the independency of hearers was impaired subconsciously, hearers are more likely to measure the company that will go on as a traveling concern and gather supportive grounds in order to retain this client in ferociously competitory market. The more the hearer economically dependent on the client, the more likely it will give up to client ‘s force per unit area. Nie ( 2007 ) conducted an probe with informations generated from 2002 to 2005 and he detected that non-Big four audit houses relied to a great extent on clients than Large four and more likely to knuckle under client ‘s force per unit area, which may take to lower audit quality. From hearer ‘s position, they confront high force per unit area from the client and hard to defy. Nichols and Price ( 1976 ) depicted a hard state of affairs where divergency occurred between hearer and the audit house on the attest map, the audit house attempted to act upon hearer ‘s sentiment through menace of expiration of battle. Compromise under client ‘s force per unit area will take to transgress of general accepted accounting criterions and legal moralss, failure to make so will arouse losingss of possible gross and so the occupation.

The death of Enron and Anderson has called in inquiry the hearer independency is impaired through the proviso of non-audit services to scrutinize clients and motivated the outgrowth of Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 which imposed limitations on proviso of several types of non-audit services. Harmonizing to a research by an independent finance consultative house, there were 26 of the FTSE companies who had disbursals on non-audit services far more than audit services in 2009. The immense non-audit service gross had led to greater concerns about audit quality. However, a spokesman of PwC announced that PwC will to the full follow with ordinance and criterions, therefore no room for the via media of hearer independency. Hopefully, the increasing transparence and exposure of information will guarantee audit quality ( Guardian, 2009 ) .

The proviso of non-audit services benefits bilateral parties, the clients and the audit houses. Teng ( n.d. ) revealed two grounds why incumbent hearers are likely to be appointed by the client to supply consulting services, one is their proficient expertness in this field and their acquaintance with the client, and another is their extra cognition obtained from other similar clients. Coulton, Ruddock and Taylor ( 2007 ) indicated that non-audit fees may hold a higher net income border therefore incumbent hearers may utilize audits as a platform to sell non-audit services, nevertheless, they besides emphasized that their decision is merely confined to non-Big 6 audit houses. Larker and Richardson ( 2004 ) found a positive relation between non-audit fees and discretional accumulations, therefore greater non-audit fees gained from the client may take to the via media of hearers. However, their decision has restrictions and can non comprehensively represent all audit houses because their samples were based on little houses with weak corporate administration mechanism.

Arguments for the value of audits

If audits have such restrictions and incurred plentifulness of jobs to the universe, so do we truly necessitate audits? Gomez-Guillamon ( 2003 ) stated the utility of audits because audit ‘s sentiment audit study about the company will significantly act upon investing and loaning determinations for Bankss and persons. DeAngelo ( 1981 ) suggested that, ceteris paribus, audit independency and audit quality are related to the size of audit houses. Since larger accounting houses have a greater figure of clients, each client holds a comparatively little cabal of entire audit fees and small influence over the auditing of fiscal coverage when compared to little accounting houses, therefore the less leaning to act opportunistically and higher expected audit quality. Reynolds and Francis ( 2001 ) further extended DeAngelo ‘s premises by look intoing hearer independency in the context of Big Five accounting houses, they found that Big Five hearers are less likely to be influenced by economic benefits from larger clients to bring forth favourable studies, conversely, they report more cautiously for larger clients in the face to avoid judicial proceeding hazard imposed by larger clients. Hope and Langli ( 2010 ) revealed hearer ‘s objectiveness in relation to scrutinize fees. Hearers will non be allured by the important sum of audit fees from client to compromise independency and objectiveness, furthermore, hearers will take prospective audit failures and repute loss into history. Cahan et Al ( 2008 ) raised expostulations against old research findings by their experiment, and they did non happen grounds that showed fast growing of non-audit fees or the length of the hearers ‘ non-audit services with the client will impair hearers ‘ independency. Chan ( 2009 ) found no important relation between audit fees, non audit fees and entire fees and hearer ‘s leaning to show a traveling concern sentiment in 2001 ( pre-SOX ) . However, harmonizing to his probe he found a positive relation between audit fees in proportion of entire fees and a traveling concern sentiment in 2003 ( post-SOX ) . However, non-audit fees are still irrelevant to the via media of hearer ‘s independency in 2003 ( post-SOX ) . Basioudis, Papakonstantinou and Geiger ( 2008 ) and further explained the positive relation between audit fees and non audit fees and traveling concern sentiments. Before hearers provide traveling concern sentiments they will make legion proving and certification which involve expatiatory treatment with clients, therefore the substantial work consequences increases in the costs of scrutinizing. Robinson ( 2008 ) added that the proviso of revenue enhancement services is likely to heighten audit quality because it will bring on hearers to scrutiny minutess more closely in order to maximise revenue enhancement refunds from losingss carry forwards.

Since the prostration of Anderson, UK hearer independency government has been reinforced by adding limitations on the proviso of non-audit services. As the consequence, non-audit fees as a per centum of entire audit fees has shrunk significantly from 300 per centum in 2000 to 70 per centum in 2009. In respect to Professor Fearnley ‘s survey, hearers are unwilling to supply suggestion on the client ‘s operation which has incurred excess costs and incommodiousness of naming other audit houses to the client (, 2010 ) . On the other manus, the lifting concerns of hearer independency, have incurred tremendous losingss for audit houses as good, have urged big corporations such as Unilever to re-exam its current non-audit services provided by PwC, which has forced PwC to whirl off its consulting services since 2002 ( BBC, 2002 )


There is tremendous grounds showed the significance of scrutinizing and hearers, even after latest flooring fiscal dirts. Self-interested behaviour that may force hearers move in an illegal mode, particularly in little audit houses with weak corporate administration mechanism where clients play an of import function and output greater influence over scrutinizing procedure. However, neglect of the function and value of hearers may be excessively pessimistic, as statute law and corporate administration will be enhanced in the foreseeable hereafter. Therefore, I think audits do hold value in the modern-day epoch.