The auditor and fraud detection : an interpretation of the Companies Acts from 1844 to 1989
The primary focus of this research is on understanding the role of the auditor towards fraud detection. More specifically, it is concerned with ascertaining the statutory audit objectives (relating to fraud detection) from all the relevant Companies Acts since 1844. In addition, it offers some sociological interpretations of the shifts in responsibility and the emergent meanings over time. The contents of this research are divided into three major parts. The first takes a critical look at the nature of auditing research conducted in this area, paying particular attention to its methodological underpinnings. It concludes that this quantitative knowledge stock does not adequately deal with the epistemological and philosophical concerns primarily because of the dominant scientific and functionalist assumptions upon which such knowledge is based. It is argued to be an inappropriate foundation upon which to build to satisfy the problem focus adopted by this research project. The second part presents a case for and describes the design of a methodological approach called 'EIS!' (Epiphanic Interpretive Symbolic Interactionism). It is built on phenomenological symbolic interactionism with hermeneutics as the basis for satisfying the epistemological concerns of this research. The third part applies this 'ElS1' model towards an understanding and interpretation of the problematic role of the statutory audit and fraud detection from the viewpoint of the researcher as an auditor. The conclusions forthcoming from this research are twofold. First, that the 'ElS1' model is a general qualitative model for the epistemological concerns here but not the only approach which could fulfil such a claim. Second, the empirical findings indicate that the role of the statutory auditor towards fraud detection is more implicit than explicit. It exposed the defining paradox of contemporary legal culture that its ideology is one of consensus and clarity. Overall, this research has provided additive contributions in the form of new or improved methodology, evidence, analysis and concepts.