Harmonising auditors? a case study of the implementation of the EU eighth directive in Denmark 1984-2003

Anne Loft, Kim K. Jeppesen

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This paper analyses the complex process through which EU's Eighth Company Law Directive on the qualification of statutory auditors (1984) was implemented in Denmark. The Directive envisaged one group of `statutory auditors' in each member state. However, in Denmark there were two groups of auditors: the state authorised auditors who had a long education and high status, and the registered auditors who had a shorter education, lower status and whose clients were mainly medium and small sized businesses. An exemption was made in the Directive to allow the registered auditors to continue to audit despite that they did not have the required `university level' education. This made the issue of education central to the long-term survival of the registered auditors and it consequently became the object of a long conflict between the parties with an interest in auditor education and qualifications: the profession, the state and the educational institutions.This case illustrates the processes of audit regulation in a small European state with a highly developed economy where auditors are approved and regulated by the state but through processes heavily influenced by the profession. It provides an interesting contrast to other studies carried out on the implementation of this Directive, e.g. in the UK (Cooper et al, 1996) and in Greece (Caramanis, 1999), and perhaps some insight into the difficulties which may be encountered in implementing the new Eighth Directive proposed by the Commission in May 2003.Key Words:EU; Eighth Directive; accounting profession; Denmark; harmonisation; regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKøbenhavn
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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