Globalization and the Coordinating of Work in Multinational Audits

Posted: 26 May 2013 Last revised: 27 Jun 2013

See all articles by Michael Barrett

Michael Barrett

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School

David J. Cooper

University of Alberta - Department of Accounting, Operations & Information Systems

Karim Jamal

University of Alberta - Department of Accounting, Operations & Information Systems

Date Written: May 1, 2004

Abstract

This paper examines how the processes of coordinating a multinational audit impacts, and is effected by, the structuration of globalization. Using a detailed field study of an audit involving multiple locations, we argue that the coordination of work in multinational firms links the local and the global in a dialectical manner. In particular, we analyze the relationship between the global and the local through an examination of two key coordinating mechanisms used by audit firms – inter-office instructions and the firm's risk based audit methodology. In so doing, we discuss the local appropriation of global systems, as well as the importance of trust and professional identity in the coordination and management of the multisite audit. Our study suggests two key globalizing tendencies associated with reflexivity in audit – the increased risk of litigation and the commercialization of the audit industry. These changes are intimately linked at the work practice level to changes in documentation, new technologies and methodologies, and a diversification in business advisory services requiring new skills and client relationships. We discuss the implications of these changes for the future of auditing, audit work and large audit firms.

Suggested Citation

Barrett, Michael Ian and Cooper, David J. and Jamal, Karim, Globalization and the Coordinating of Work in Multinational Audits (May 1, 2004). Accounting, Organizations and Society, Vol. 30, No. 1, 2005, University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-140, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2269940

Michael Ian Barrett

University of Cambridge - Judge Business School ( email )

Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom
+44 01223 339600 (Phone)
+44 01223 339701 (Fax)

David J. Cooper (Contact Author)

University of Alberta - Department of Accounting, Operations & Information Systems ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada

Karim Jamal

University of Alberta - Department of Accounting, Operations & Information Systems ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada
780-492-5829 (Phone)
780-492-3325 (Fax)

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