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Making things visible : audit quality control in the UK and the definition of the professional order

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  • Carlos, RAMIREZ
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    Abstract

    Amongst professional activities, audit has increasingly departed from what the sociology of professions traditionally considered to be lying at the heart of the identity of the members of a professional body : the autonomy to judge the nature and amount of work that is necessary to treat the cases submitted to these members. Indeed, the generalisation of audit standards and the institutionalisation of means of controlling their application have in the last thirty years contributed to externalise and collectivise professional judgement. This paper tries to go back over the consequences of the process of controlling the work of auditors, both for the definition of audit itself and for the definition of the professional community. To do this, the paper takes the example of the operation of an audit monitoring unit that was set by the Institute of cartered accountants in England and Wales (in association with the Scottish and Irish Institutes of cartered accountants) to comply with the 1989 Companies act that integrated the 8th European Company Law directive in the British legislation. As what regards audit, it is shown that the result of the monitoring process was to reveal a great diversity in the ways of understanding audit practice as well as to stigmatise, not so much ill practice, but rather practices that were distant to the model that had inspired the definition of audit standardsn and the definition of the way to control their application. Regarding the professional community, it is contented that the monotoring process lead top make the hierarchical structure of this community visible whilst rendering a revision of the process necessary so as to attemps to restore order and unity in the professional body.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by HEC Paris in its series Les Cahiers de Recherche with number 812.

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    Length: 33 pages
    Date of creation: 01 Apr 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ebg:heccah:0812

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    Postal: HEC Paris, 78351 Jouy-en-Josas cedex, France
    Web page: http://www.hec.fr/
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    Keywords: audit; quality control;

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    References

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    1. Alain Mikol, 1993. "The evolution of auditing and the independent auditor in France," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 1-16.
    2. Power, Michael K., 1992. "From common sense to expertise: Reflections on the prehistory of audit sampling," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 37-62, January.
    3. Ponemon, Lawrence A., 1992. "Ethical reasoning and selection-socialization in accounting," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 17(3-4), pages 239-258.
    4. Puxty, A. G. & Willmott, Hugh C. & Cooper, David J. & Lowe, Tony, 1987. "Modes of regulation in advanced capitalism: Locating accountancy in four countries," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 273-291, April.
    5. Matthews, Derek & Anderson, Malcolm & Edwards, John Richard, 1998. "The Priesthood of Industry: The Rise of the Professional Accountant in British Management," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780198289609, October.
    6. Power, Michael K., 1991. "Educating accountants: Towards a critical ethnography," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 333-353.
    7. Miller, Peter & O'Leary, Ted, 1987. "Accounting and the construction of the governable person," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 235-265, April.
    8. Willmott, Hugh, 1986. "Organising the profession: A theoretical and historical examination of the development of the major accountancy bodies in the U.K," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 11(6), pages 555-580, October.
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