The construction of auditability: MBA rankings and assurance in practice
For much of the past decade, the audit profession has been enjoined to enter new and novel fields of assurance services. This call implies the importation of constructs from traditional attest financial audits into new domains to provide elevated levels of assurance for information-users and decision-makers. Little is presently known about the process by which audit scope, practices and communications about the work done are developed in these new fields. This paper attempts to shed light on these issues through an in-depth field study of KPMG's "audit" of the Financial Times MBA rankings. The audit project is argued to import legitimacy to data provided by International Business Schools as well as imbue a derived legitimacy to the Financial Times rankings. At an operational level, audit planning, procedures and communicated written conclusions emerge as a much more negotiated and adaptive practice than rhetoric might suggest.
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