Investors' Perception and Audit Expectation-Performance Gap (AEG) in the Context of Listed Firms in Sri Lanka
CA Journal of Applied Research, 2019, vol. 3, pp. 1-27.
27 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2020
Date Written: December 25, 2019
Corporate failures around the globe in recent times have placed the auditing profession in the spotlight. The profession is beset by confusion and crises caused by the differences in the beliefs held by auditors and the public concerning the auditor’s duties, which have even led to lawsuits against auditors. This situation is the result of what is known as the ‘Audit Expectation–Performance Gap’ (AEG). In the light of the contemporary importance of the subject, lack of theoretical underpinnings of the causes of AEG and the dearth of studies on it in Sri Lanka, the present study attempts to ascertain the status of AEG and to examine the factors contributing to AEG, in the Sri Lankan context. A positivist approach was adopted and a structured questionnaire survey done involving professional auditors and investors of listed firms. The results of independent sample t-test indicated a statistically significant difference between the perceptions of professional auditors and investors regarding the duties of auditors in the context of listed firms in Sri Lanka. The relative contribution to the overall AEG was that much of the gap (50 per cent) in AEG was attributable to deficient standards, 16 per cent to unreasonable expectations of society about auditors’ duties, and 34 per cent was due to the perceived sub-standard performance of auditors. On the other hand, in terms of the contributory factors, the mean ranking with one sample t-test results found that 12 factors contributed significantly to AEG. The main contributory factors highlighted by respondents were the lack of auditing education and lack of auditing experience among users. Thus, as regards policy implications, it was noted that policymakers and regulators need to increase community awareness through audit education to reduce AEG in Sri Lanka as one of the main measures.
Keywords: Audit Education, Audit Expectations Gap, Duties of Auditors, Factors, Institutional Theory, Porter Model (1993)
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