The Application of Audit Standards in ECA's Work
17 Pages Posted: 4 May 2017
Date Written: May 3, 2017
External auditors, both in the private and in the public sector, are in the business of providing information to citizens and other stakeholders, to decide whether and in how far they can trust in what the audited bodies claim has been achieved. Audits of these auditors are governed by standards which concern the different aspects of professionalism of auditors and their audits. This raises the question how these standards fit into a regulatory framework under which an external auditor operates. So far, there is little published research on the role and structure of standards that govern audits of the European Court of Auditors (ECA). By drawing a structure of these standards and investigating them vis-à-vis the EU legal framework, we argue that the ECA, which is based on constitutional law and EU law, is mainly following the private sector standards and private sector standards are more or less copied, as far as financial audit is concerned. For issues more exclusively covered by public sector auditors, such as performance audits, public sector auditors have developed themselves standards and guidelines. The fact that there are no uniform general audit principles which would govern the work of the ECA raises a concern to what extent public external auditors pay attention to the difference between the public and private auditing. The paper aims to enhance our understanding of the institutional complementarity between transnational private regulation and public regimes.
Keywords: audit, standards, public sector auditors, informal law, accountability, the European Court of Auditor
JEL Classification: K10, H83, M42, M48
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation