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Title: Business risk audit : a study of the relationship between audit methodology, audit practice and audit standards
Author: Curtis, Emer Ann
ISNI:       0000 0001 3400 784X
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2006
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The objective of the thesis is to study the relationship between audit methodology, audit practice and audit standards. The ambiguous nature of audit assurance and the related problematic nature of the audit evidence process are recognised in the literature. The development of proprietary audit methodologies by some of the large accounting firms represents a response to this problem. These methodologies potentially influence both audit practice and audit standards. The thesis draws on institutional theory and an analysis of the multiple roles of audit methodology identified in the literature, to build an analytical framework which facilitates an understanding of audit methodology in its social and institutional context. The introduction by some of the large accounting firms of Business Risk Audit (BRA) approaches has been documented as a major development in audit methodology in the mid1990s. This innovation represented an ambitious program of change in audit techniques and was actively promoted among clients, regulators and academics. As a significant event in the audit field, it provides an excellent opportunity to study the relationship between audit methodology, audit practice and audit standards. Two related empirical studies were undertaken as part of this thesis. First, a longitudinal case study of the implementation of the BRA in practice provided theoretical insights into the relationship between methodology and practice. Second, an investigation into the conditions, events and processes that influenced the development of new standards iil response to BRA enhanced understanding of the relationship between methodology and standards. The two studies provide an in-depth account of an important institutional event in the field of auditing. Facilitated by the analytical framework, the study serves to enhance understanding of the relationship between audit methodology, practice and standards in two key ways. First, the central development of audit methodology within the large firms is shown to be an important consideration in appreciating both the manner in which innovation in methodology emerges and potential problems arising from processes of implementation. This finding has theoretical relevance, suggesting that innovations in audit methodology and their impact on audit practice can be better understood by analysing them in relation to the different interests and sources of legitimacy of those directly involved in the development and promotion of audit firms' methodologies and the audit practitioners required to implement them. Secondly, the study highlights the potential for tension between the various roles served by audit methodologies and audit standards, whether in terms of supporting the production of assurance, profits and different sources of legitimacy for audit firms, standard setters, regulators and the profession as a whole. Theoretically speaking, the success or failure in gaining institutional acceptance for innovations in audit methodology is shown to be dependent on their impact on, and ability to satisfy, the respective (and potentially competing) business demands and professiQpal obligations assumed by/placed on actors within the organisational field of auditing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available