Illuminating the Limits of Auditor Accountability for Fraud Detection Through a Historical Study of Internal Control Evaluation
Stephanie D. Moussalli
University of Mississippi-Patterson School of Accountancy
O. Ronald Gray
University of Alaska Anchorage - College of Business & Public Policy
June 6, 2011
Journal of Business, Industry and Economics, Volume 17, Spring 2012
Messner (2009) and Roberts (2009) argue that there are limits of accountability and transparency for accountants. We study the 20th-century development of independent auditors’ evaluation of internal controls as a U.S. example of attempted limits on auditors’ fraud detection responsibilities. While internal controls provide market value, their evaluation during an audit has value largely to auditors themselves, who shift some of the costs of the audit and much of the responsibility for fraud detection to management. A content analysis of the Montgomery’s Auditing series from 1912 to 1998 demonstrates that the percent of text devoted to both internal control techniques and their evaluation was a positive function of time, while the attention given to fraud detection techniques moved in the opposite direction. Our data do not support the literature that explains internal controls evaluation by auditors as an efficiency measure or reaction to competitive price pressures.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 19
Keywords: Internal Controls, Auditing, Montgomery's Auditing, Auditor Accountability, History of Auditing, Fraud Detection
JEL Classification: K22, L84, M40, M41, M49, N22, N42
Date posted: February 13, 2011 ; Last revised: August 3, 2012
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