This issue proposes to advance our understanding of auditing practices from a broad range of perspectives. As the remarks below indicate, the need to produce thought-provoking empirical and theoretical knowledge in the auditing literature remains significant. Research topics appropriate for this special issue include, but are not limited to the following themes:
- Despite numerous calls to produce more research on auditors’ actual practices, we still know little about what auditors do in the field, and in particular, about their interactions with auditees. It is also remarkable that the “auditee” as a research object has remained virtually ignored in the literature. Yet, an audit engagement involves a two-sided relationship. How auditees perceive, shape, use, and engage with the auditors’ work is still a largely missing part of our understanding of auditors’ independence.
- The regulatory pressures surrounding the auditing profession have intensified since the adoption of the Sarbanes Oxley Act in the early 2000s. In particular, the creation of independent regulators has been a spectacular innovation causing accounting firms, professional bodies and state actors to rethink in great depth the distribution of power and responsibilities. Almost a decade later, research on the impact of those regulatory reforms on audit firms’ managerial and organizational practices remains scarce. How do inspection processes work in practice? How has this regulatory shock impacted, for example, audit firms’ internal culture, internal quality controls and internal systems of promotion?
- Similar to many other knowledge-intensive organizations, auditing firms have been investing heavily recently in the promotion of Big Data in business analytics. Big Data is anticipated by many to make important contributions in the audit field by enhancing the quality of audit evidence and facilitating fraud detection. However, at the same time, the rise of artificial intelligence, also informed by Big Data technologies, represents a significant threat to the future of auditing by undermining the value added of auditors’ work and firms’ important sources of revenues. How audit firms are adapting and responding to these challenges have become urgent research questions that need to be addressed.
- Auditors’ attempts at jurisdictional expansion outside the field of audit, by elaborating and marketing new services, haven’t diminished. Unpacking these efforts represents a continuous challenge for researchers seeking to understand the logic and the factors for success and failure underlying efforts at jurisdictional expansion.
- The profession’s efforts, within and outside the firms, to retain talents and create a more open, diverse and inclusive work environment especially in favor of visible minorities, Indigenous peoples, those with disabilities, new immigrants, the LGBTQ+ community and females, have increased. This trend, which has been fueled by growing institutional pressures and societal transformations, deserves more analysis in order to assess the “real” impact of those discourses and policies.
- Other minorities sometimes forgotten about in terms of audit research are the non-Big 4 audit firms or smaller audit practitioners. By focusing only on the Big 4 we obtain a partial and potentially partisan perspective of the profession and the challenges it may face. Non-Big 4 firms form a significant part of the accounting profession and we would like to also encourage research into how they are addressing any of the areas detailed above.
Qualitative approaches such as field study methods (including case study research), are particularly well aligned with the nature of the questions and issues the special issue seeks to address.
Papers submitted to this special issue will be subject to a double-blind review process. Authors are encouraged to contact the guest editors in advance should there be any matters on which they require clarification or guidance (email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com ).
The deadline for submissions is 30 November 2018. Submissions should not be sent before 15 June 2018.
There are plans to hold an EAR Symposium on the topic at the 2018 European Accounting Association Annual Meeting in Milano from 30 May – 1 June 2018. This session is moderated by the Guest Editors. It will present the objectives of the special issue and feature a few presentations, with the final intent to provide ideas to potential authors for the special issue.
- Guest Editor: Mary Canning, University College Dublin, Ireland
- Guest Editor: Bertrand Malsch, Queen's University, Canada
- Guest Editor: Brendan O'Dwyer, Alliance Manchester Business School, UK & University of Amsterdam Business School, The Netherlands