This study draws on two longitudinal case studies of the French and Danish joint audit models to understand and compare how mandatory joint audits have emerged and evolved. In both settings, joint audits appeared in the 1930s to increase auditors’ competence and independence. After a few decades of practice, joint audits became taken for granted, but in the 1980s, conglomerated audit networks attempted to circumvent the joint audit rule, entering into conflict with local auditors. In France, the main association of auditors adopted successive regulatory measures that prevented circumventing the model, therefore avoiding its erosion. Such regulatory layering crucially reshaped the model to sustain belief in its potential whenever a particular form of joint audit failed. In Denmark, the local audit firms essentially resisted attacks against the model rhetorically, which was insufficient to prevent its erosion in the 1990s and its suppression by the law in 2005. Contrasting the two cases shows the multi-modal ways in which actors undertake institutional work and it provides timely information for regulators engaged in discussions about joint audits.
Bibliographical notePublished online: 25 March 2022
- Mandatory Joint Audit
- Institutional Work
- Regulatory Layering