Executive summary: In 2014 the Danish Parliament announced that it would initiate an analysis of the possibilities and implications of further relaxing the audit requirement. Based on this, the purpose of this thesis was to examine whether Denmark may benefit from relaxing the audit requirement to match the limits of the EU Accounting Directive. In order to shed light on the possibility of relaxation to match the limits of the EU Accounting Directive, it was natural to look into the implications of the relaxations already introduced. This would indicate the direction into which the market for audit services is moving and the possibility of drawing parallels to other EU countries which have already introduced relaxation to match the EU limits. Moreover, it was natural to look into the factors which affect companies’ choice of auditor’s report, with emphasis on banks and the auditing profession. The Danish Business Authority has made a number of the evaluations of the already relaxed audit requirement. The evaluations describe how many companies have made use of the relaxations introduced; however, we did not find them useful for further analyses. The UK was among the first countries to relax the audit requirement to match fully the limits of the EU Accounting Directive; therefore, we considered it relevant to look at the experience from the UK, which was also found useful for Denmark and from which Denmark may benefit. To get an indication of the influence of banks on companies’ choice of auditor’s report, we sent a questionnaire to business advisers with Danish banks. The responses showed that the business advisers were not familiar with the different types of assurance reports that the auditor may issue on financial statements and that, in general, business advisers have insufficient understanding of the scope of the auditor’s work. When significant loans are involved, banks impose an audit requirement on companies in spite of their possibility of opting out of audit. If companies opt out of audit, they will be given a lower credit rating, which will lead to increased finance costs. Banks are assessed to have major influence on companies’ choice of auditor’s report, especially when it comes to not opting out of audit. The position taken by the auditing profession was, on the other hand, inconsistent as it turned out that the auditor’s influence on companies’ choice of auditor’s report depends on his or her educational level and the size of the audit firm. Moreover, the position taken by the auditing profession is affected by the existence of statutory supervisory authorities in Denmark. Based on our analysis, we believe that Denmark may benefit from relaxing the audit requirement tomatch the limits of the EU Accounting Directive and leaving regulation to the freemarket forces. Relaxation of the audit requirement will lead to increased flexibility and accommodate better the individual needs of companies.
|Educations||MSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||136|