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Auditing in Britain and Germany compared: professions, knowledge and the state


  • Holger Vieten


In an attempt to move away from dichotomous expositions of state-run Germany and self-regulated Britain this paper seeks to analyse the regulation of auditing in terms of a state-profession axis (Hopwood, 1988: 559) that shifts over time. Stereotypical beliefs of Britain and Germany representing diametrically opposite systems of regulation can be contradicted in the light of increasing state involvement in Britain and the recognition that the German system is not adequately characterized by rigid and exhaustive codification, but relies to a significant degree on professional expertise. However, differences do exist, especially in the nature of regulation, which takes an informal shape in Britain, and in the production and diffusion of knowledge where academics and preparers are much more involved in Germany. The case of auditor independence illustrates some of the similarities and differences exposed by an analysis that aims to interpret regulatory systems in their national and historical context rather than producing simplistic general models.

Suggested Citation

  • Holger Vieten, 1995. "Auditing in Britain and Germany compared: professions, knowledge and the state," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(3), pages 485-514.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:euract:v:4:y:1995:i:3:p:485-514
    DOI: 10.1080/09638189500000029

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    Cited by:

    1. McLeay, Stuart & Ordelheide, Dieter & Young, Steven, 2000. "Constituent lobbying and its impact on the development of financial reporting regulations: evidence from Germany," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 79-98, January.
    2. Gietzmann, M. B. & Quick, R., 1998. "Capping auditor liability: The German experience," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 81-103, January.
    3. Maria Antonia Garcia Benau & Emiliano Ruiz Barbadillo & Christopher Humphrey & Walid Al Husaini, 1999. "Success in failure? Reflections on the changing Spanish audit environment," European Accounting Review, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(4), pages 701-730.

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