Reform of the Audit Process and the Role of Shareholder Voice: Transatlantic Perspectives
Posted: 2 Nov 2004
In this article, the authors fill a gap in the legal literature surrounding post-Enron corporate governance reform by focusing on the need for enhanced shareholder voice in the auditing process. The authors expand on Anand's analysis in 'Shareholder Isolation and the Regulation of Auditors' with transatlantic perspectives on reform of the audit process. Specifically, they examine the role of the auditor, shareholder powerlessness and the post-Enron reform process in Canada and the UK, contrasting the reform movement in these countries with that in the US. Finally, the authors examine the developing auditor governance regime in the EU. In their analysis, the authors reach several important conclusions: the auditor-shareholder relationship and the duties of auditors to shareholders need to be clearly defined; shareholder isolation from the audit process severely endangers investor confidence; the independence of audit committees and auditors is not enough to protect shareholders; and, most importantly, shareholder voice should be recognised as an essential tool for promoting not only auditor independence, but also, ultimately, investor confidence. In short, the authors conclude that shareholder voice must be a part of the post-Enron reform of the audit process.
Keywords: Shareholder voice, shareholder isolation, shareholder democracy, Enron, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, audit process, audit reform, corporate governance, investor confidence, disclosure
JEL Classification: K2
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation