The collapse in the US of Enron and Worldcom, together with their auditors, Arthur Andersen, has focused the public spotlight on the company audit and made it a highly controversial aspect of the accountant's work. In Britain, the recent legal action by Equitable Life against Ernst and Young is only the latest in a long line of scandals at BCCI, Maxwell, and the Barings bank, among many others. "A History of Auditing" for the first time lifts the lid off the work of the auditors, and details how historically they have got themselves into the present situation.
The book draws on new evidence generated by a postal questionnaire and oral history among auditors both past and present, together with an analysis of company reports and exhaustive use of contemporary textbooks and articles, making frequent frequent comparisons with American practice. The resulting history traces the evolution of the auditing process from its leisurely Victorian beginnings where armies of clerks checked and ticked everything in their client's books, to the transformation in the 1960s when, with the growing scale of clients auditing became more a matter of checking a client's systems rather than the records themselves. The changes in the 1980s are also documented when because of the growing pressure on audit fees from clients meeting the threat of global competition, auditors began to put their faith in such nebulous techniques as risk assessment. Alongside all these changes auditors also had to cope with the advent of computerization which robbed them of the audit trail.
This comprehensive history will be a useful reference tool for accounting, business and economic historians and will also be an enlightening read for all those with an interest in auditing procedures.
'Matthews has enriched our understanding of audit practice greatly, and undoubtedly his book will become a primary point of reference for future auditing researchers and historically inclined practitioners.' The Economic History Review
Series: Routledge New Works in Accounting History
Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 208
Published: 12th January 2006
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.39 x 15.6
Weight (kg): 0.45
Edition Number: 1