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The audit trinity: the key to securing corporate accountability


  • Brenda A. Porter


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to distinguish between corporate accountability and corporate governance, explore the development of corporate accountability and examine the role of the tripartite audit function in securing this accountability. Design/methodology/approach - A normative approach has been adopted and the research is based, primarily, on an examination of relevant literature. Findings - Society facilities the growth of economic entities by providing them with resources. As their command over resources increases, these entities gain significant economic, social and political power and accountability is demanded of their managers as a check on possible abuse of this power. Historically, as companies have increased their power in society, those to whom and that for which their managers are held accountable have been extended. Today, the managers of large public companies are considered to be accountable to society as a whole for a wide range of corporate activities. The discharge of corporate accountability traditionally relied on the preparation and audit of accountability reports (financial statements). However, from the 1990s, responding to the increasing severity of the impact on society of unexpected corporate failures – and continued failures – responsible corporate governance was added as an accountability requirement. Further, as the activities for which companies are accountable have been extended (paralleling the growth of their “power” in society), so corporate responsibility information has featured as an element in their accountability reports. As these changes have occurred, the importance of the tripartite audit function in securing corporate accountability has come to be recognised and its members – the company's external and internal auditors and its audit committee – have become increasingly multi-disciplinary in nature. Originality/value - The paper explores the questions of why corporate accountability arises and how it is discharged. It explains the relationship between corporate governance and accountability and the role of the audit function in securing corporate accountability. It also provides insights into changes occurring in the audit function and how these might develop.

Suggested Citation

  • Brenda A. Porter, 2009. "The audit trinity: the key to securing corporate accountability," Managerial Auditing Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 24(2), pages 156-182, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:majpps:v:24:y:2009:i:2:p:156-182

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. World Commission on Environment and Development,, 1987. "Our Common Future," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780192820808.
    2. Mathews, M. R., 1984. "A suggested classification for social accounting research," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 3(3), pages 199-221.
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    Cited by:

    1. Melinda Timea FÜLÖP & Mirela-Oana PINTEA, 2014. "Effects Of The New Regulation And Corporate Governance Of The Audit Profession," SEA - Practical Application of Science, Fundația Română pentru Inteligența Afacerii, Editorial Department, issue 4, pages 545-554, July.
    2. Cristina Bota-Avram & Paula Ramona Rachisan, 2013. "Analysing The Similarities Between Oecd Principles Versus European Corporate Governance Codes - An Internal Audit Perspective," Annales Universitatis Apulensis Series Oeconomica, Faculty of Sciences, "1 Decembrie 1918" University, Alba Iulia, vol. 2(15), pages 1-15.
    3. George Silviu CORDOȘ & Melinda Times FÜLÖP, 2014. "Audit Reporting And Corporate Governance: Links And Implications," SEA - Practical Application of Science, Fundația Română pentru Inteligența Afacerii, Editorial Department, issue 3, pages 146-154, April.
    4. Monica Violeta Achim & Nicolae Sorin Borlea & Ludovica Breban, 2010. "Financial Crisis and Accounting Information: The Need for Corporate Social Responsibility in Accounting Profession," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(3), pages 39-62.
    5. Maria Krambia-Kapardis & Chris Christodoulou & Michalis Agathocleous, 2010. "Neural networks: the panacea in fraud detection?," Managerial Auditing Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 25(7), pages 659-678, July.
    6. Fulop Melinda Timea, 2011. "Corporate Governance-The Role And Application Of The Principle Of Transparency," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(1), pages 616-621, July.
    7. Melinda Timea Fulop, 2014. "The Role of the Audit Committee in Corporate Governance and the Influence of the Exchange Rates," International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Accounting, Finance and Management Sciences, vol. 4(1), pages 279-286, January.
    8. Cristina Boţa-Avram, 2012. "Perceptions Over the Audit Committee Practices in the Context of Corporate Governance: Evidence From Romania," Journal of Knowledge Management, Economics and Information Technology,, vol. 2(5), pages 1-11, October.
    9. Cristina Boţa-Avram, 2012. "Investigation of External Audit’s Good Practices in the Context of Corporate Governance - Evidence from Romania," Journal of Knowledge Management, Economics and Information Technology,, vol. 2(1), pages 1-7, February.
    10. Cristina Bota-Avram, 2011. "Some Arguments That Justify The Audit Trinity’S Approach In The Context Of Corporate Governance," Studies in Business and Economics, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Faculty of Economic Sciences, vol. 6(1), pages 5-18, April.


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