Accountability to the Audit Committee: Running Risks and Managing Impressions
37 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2013
Date Written: May 1, 2012
The audit committee process is generally considered as a monitoring process: directors have to monitor managers and auditors to enhance quality of financial statements and transparency. Another way to consider the audit committee process could be to seeing it as an accountability process: a process during which managers and auditors become visible in accounting for their choices and actions, during which the definition of their selves is in question. From the analysis of 53 interviews with attendees of French CAC 40 audit committees’ meetings, we explore interactions during formal audit committee meetings and their consequences in terms of accountability. Accounting to the audit committee seems to be a matter of impressions management: preparing intensely in backstage and performing in the limelight of the front stage. Performance’s consistency and transparency, quality of actors would be the objects of directors’ scrutiny. Feelings of accountability created by formal audit committee meetings seem to be linked to the risk of losing face.
Keywords: audit committee process, accountability, impression management, risk of losing face, Goffman
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