Auditors' responses to emerging issues: a UK perspective on the statutory financial auditor and the environment

David Collison, Rob Gray

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The relevance of environmental issues for financial reporting and financial auditing is a matter of concern for many individual accountants and auditors, and for professional bodies and regulatory agencies in the UK and elsewhere. This paper reports on a large scale survey of audit practitioners in the UK which was part of a project funded by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. The questionnaire investigated auditors' experience of the issues and any actions that they may have taken in response to them. The survey also sought opinions about (1) the need for professional guidance and regulation in the fields of financial accounting and auditing and (2) a possible wider role for the financial auditor in the verification of environmental reports. Two quite distinct populations were surveyed: half the questionnaires were sent to offices of ‘large’ firms (drawn from the approximate top 100 in terms of fee income), and half were sent to a random sample of other firms listed in the ICAEW directory. These groups have been further subdivided for parts of the analysis and firm size was found to be significantly related to responses in some, though not all, areas. In particular, the results suggest that some firms may be at risk of giving insufficient attention to the financial implications of environmental issues. A clear majority of respondents thought that the environmental awareness of auditors needed to be raised but opinions were more evenly divided on the need for regulation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)135-149
    Number of pages15
    JournalInternational Journal of Auditing
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 1997

    Fingerprint

    Auditors
    Auditing
    Questionnaire
    Accountants
    Environmental issues
    Guidance
    Firm size
    Financial reporting
    Audit
    England
    Environmental awareness
    Fees
    Financial accounting
    Large firms
    Wales
    Income

    Keywords

    • financial auditing
    • Environment
    • audit regulation
    • Environmental accounting
    • attestation
    • auditor response
    • firm size

    Cite this

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    abstract = "The relevance of environmental issues for financial reporting and financial auditing is a matter of concern for many individual accountants and auditors, and for professional bodies and regulatory agencies in the UK and elsewhere. This paper reports on a large scale survey of audit practitioners in the UK which was part of a project funded by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. The questionnaire investigated auditors' experience of the issues and any actions that they may have taken in response to them. The survey also sought opinions about (1) the need for professional guidance and regulation in the fields of financial accounting and auditing and (2) a possible wider role for the financial auditor in the verification of environmental reports. Two quite distinct populations were surveyed: half the questionnaires were sent to offices of ‘large’ firms (drawn from the approximate top 100 in terms of fee income), and half were sent to a random sample of other firms listed in the ICAEW directory. These groups have been further subdivided for parts of the analysis and firm size was found to be significantly related to responses in some, though not all, areas. In particular, the results suggest that some firms may be at risk of giving insufficient attention to the financial implications of environmental issues. A clear majority of respondents thought that the environmental awareness of auditors needed to be raised but opinions were more evenly divided on the need for regulation.",
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