Commercialization of auditing services offered by professionals within accounting firms

Authors: Dermarkar, Simon Pierre
Advisor: Gendron, Yves
Abstract: The core of the study will highlight the presence of important pressures ensuing from commercialism throughout the professional auditing practice in the post-Enron era. The analysis of these features will be distinguished into two segments; first the pressures ensuing from the auditor’s desire of being perceived as commercially effective, and second, the pressures ensuing from the auditor’s aim of privileging the clients and remaining competitive in the market. The general business aspects of auditing (i.e., rapidity, efficiency, profitability) monitored by some financial indicators (i.e., recuperation rate and hourly recuperated fee) which are controlled and promoted through certain formalized processes (i.e., budgeting and performance assessment) within accounting organizations explain specifically why audit practitioners have a desire to be perceived as economically effective. Moreover, empirical findings indicate a certain evolution and ongoing – sometimes aggressive – presence of such mechanisms which potentially lead to negative effects such as deterioration of the working environment and neglectful alteration of audit approaches. Also, in order to counter increasing pressures related to rivalry and to increase market share, accounting firms deploy an evolving low pricing audit engagement strategy aiming to retain (or seduce) the auditees. Conversely to what many would think, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and its Canadian adaptation did not get rid of such tactic in the audit industry. In fact, the strategy has evolved to the point where some smaller firms have to keep up by reluctantly adopting such method in order to counter Big Four’s aggressive marketing behaviours. In turn, that approach creates a certain controversy between the risk level of the engagement and the profitability aim which often remains at a standard level no matter the variation of the fee. I present excerpts indicating that the low balling auditor might aim at minimizing questionings through the audit work or literally seek to find where the audit work can be cut.
Document Type: Mémoire de maîtrise
Issue Date: 2011
Open Access Date: 17 April 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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