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Why an auditor can't be competent and independent: A french case study


  • Chrystelle Richard


This research proposes an understanding of the role of the relationship between the finance director and the auditor in the audit process and its effect on audit quality. We adopt an interpretative and qualitative approach. Based on 60 interviews, this qualitative method is the object of an interpretative process, composed of two complementary theoretical fields: contractual economic theories and economic sociology. Two notions emerge from this process, which are considered as the interpretation bases: relationship dualism (professional/personal relationship) and hybrid trust. This interpretative conception leads to a redefinition of the relationship between a finance director and an auditor as a peers' relationship. The emergence conditions of a peers' relationship are the sharing of professional and cultural norms, the frequency of relationship and the multiplexity of relationship. A peers' relationship is characterised by a hybrid trust, a joint generation of knowledge and a role equality. This parity conception of a relationship leads to a new reading of the foundations of audit quality that are auditor independence and competence. Audit quality appears as a balance between its two determinants, competence and independence.

Suggested Citation

  • Chrystelle Richard, 2006. "Why an auditor can't be competent and independent: A french case study," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(2), pages 153-179.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:15:y:2006:i:2:p:153-179 DOI: 10.1080/09638180500104832

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Baskerville, Rachel F., 2003. "Hofstede never studied culture," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 1-14, January.
    2. Benston, George J. & Hartgraves, Al L., 2002. "Enron: what happened and what we can learn from it," Journal of Accounting and Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 105-127.
    3. Quick, R. & Baker, R. & Mikol, A., 2001. "Regulation of the Statutory Auditor in the European Union: A Comparative Survey of the United Kingdom, France and Germany," Publications of Darmstadt Technical University, Institute for Business Studies (BWL) 67744, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute for Business Studies (BWL).
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    Cited by:

    1. Patrick Ifergan, 2011. "Interprétativisme et complexité des normes d'audit françaises," Post-Print hal-00650464, HAL.
    2. Philip Law, 2010. "The influence of the types of NAS provisions and gifts hospitality on auditor independence," International Journal of Accounting and Information Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 18(2), pages 105-117, June.
    3. Geneviève Causse & Viet Ha Vu, 2010. "La performance des cabinets d'audit légal : comparaison de points de vue," Post-Print hal-00479509, HAL.
    4. repec:dau:papers:123456789/7609 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Emna Ben Saad & Cédric Lesage, 2009. "Perception De L'Indépendance De L'Auditeur : Analyse Par La Théorie D'Attribution," Post-Print halshs-00460618, HAL.
    6. Christine Noël Le maitre & Cathy Krohmer, 2010. "L’éthique est-elle (vraiment) une compétence clef des auditeurs légaux?," Revue Finance Contrôle Stratégie,, vol. 13(4), pages 75-100., December.
    7. Philip Law, 2008. "An empirical comparison of non-Big 4 and Big 4 auditors' perceptions of auditor independence," Managerial Auditing Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 23(9), pages 917-934, October.
    8. repec:eee:spacre:v:18:y:2015:i:2:p:115-126 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Sophie Audousset-Coulier, 2009. "L'utilisation des honoraires d'audit pour mesurer la qualité de l'audit : théorie et évidence," Post-Print halshs-00460230, HAL.
    10. Alice Garcia & Olivier Herrbach, 2010. "Organisational commitment, role tension and affective states in audit firms," Managerial Auditing Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 25(3), pages 226-239, March.
    11. repec:dau:papers:123456789/13554 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. repec:dau:papers:123456789/3505 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Kym Butcher & Graeme Harrison & Jill McKinnon & Philip Ross, 2011. "Auditor appointment in compulsory audit tendering," Accounting Research Journal, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 24(2), pages 104-149, September.
    14. Fabien Cerruti & Christelle Richard, 2008. "Qualité de l'audit et Satisfaction de l'audité : Chronique d'une Innovation Ordinaire," Post-Print halshs-00522438, HAL.

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