Illuminating the Limits of Auditor Accountability for Fraud Detection Through a Historical Study of Internal Control Evaluation

Journal of Business, Industry and Economics, Volume 17, Spring 2012

19 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2011 Last revised: 3 Aug 2012

Stephanie D. Moussalli

University of Mississippi-Patterson School of Accountancy

O. Ronald Gray

Independent

Gokhan Karahan

University of Alaska Anchorage - College of Business & Public Policy

Date Written: June 6, 2011

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Internal Controls, Auditing, Montgomery's Auditing, Auditor Accountability, History of Auditing, Fraud Detection

JEL Classification: K22, L84, M40, M41, M49, N22, N42

Suggested Citation

Moussalli, Stephanie D. and Gray, O. Ronald and Karahan, Gokhan, Illuminating the Limits of Auditor Accountability for Fraud Detection Through a Historical Study of Internal Control Evaluation (June 6, 2011). Journal of Business, Industry and Economics, Volume 17, Spring 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1760542 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1760542

Stephanie D. Moussalli (Contact Author)

University of Mississippi-Patterson School of Accountancy ( email )

PO Box 1848
School of Accountancy, Univ. Mississippi
University, MS 38677
United States

O. Ronald Gray

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Gokhan Karahan

University of Alaska Anchorage - College of Business & Public Policy ( email )

United States

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