God revisorskik - bag om skuespillet

Thomas Bentzen & Louis Fritz Strøm

Student thesis: Master thesis


Good auditor practice (god revisorskik) is a central concept in relation to the statutory audit in Denmark. Furthermore, the concept is part of a very central resolution in The Danish Act on Approved Auditors and Audit Firms; however, what exactly the concept covers is dreggier. This thesis focuses on why such a broad and all-embracing concept as good auditor practice is applied in preference to a more detailed regulation and tangible specification of what the individual auditor must do in relation to the statutory audit in Denmark. The reader should note that this thesis only addresses the meaning of the concept in relation to the Danish statutory audit of class C and smaller enterprises in Denmark. To get an understanding of why the concept good auditor practice is applied in Denmark, we have chosen to introduce Goffman's dramaturgical perspective: "impression management". This theory contains a number of tools to explain the concept and the interaction taking place when the frames of the concept are being created and set. Consequently, the authors of the thesis have had to add a new perspective to the chosen theory, i.e. the "program". In our opinion, this is a central and important addition to Goffman's dramaturgical perspective in order to achieve the maximum of the performance taking place later. The audience receives the program prior to the performance. The program includes the most basic information regarding the story and the background for the entire set-up which will affect the audience during the show. In this thesis, the program is the understanding of the concept, the history revolving around the concept and how good auditor practice is performed correctly. Through interviews and audit literature, we have achieved an understanding of the fact that good auditor practice is performed. In interviews, persons with central knowledge of the group of auditors in Denmark stated, as a whole, that good auditor practice refers to how good, friendly, professionally competent, meticulous, well-oriented and reasonable average auditors would act/perform in a given situation. In other words, what is performed by one good average auditor at a given time will also be performed by another good average auditor. History shows that the auditors' conduct has changed dramatically throughout the past years; partly due to business scandals, and partly due to the fact that auditing has become more complicated as a result of the general development in the world. Specifically, good auditor practice is performed by means of three interaction processes; Danish Standards on Auditing, compliance with legislation and guidelines. In addition, there are three interaction factors; expert opinions, rulings from Revisornævnet (the Audit Board) and court rulings. The authors of this thesis have presented the interaction between all six elements in figure 8 in the thesis. The problem with this figure, in practice, is that disorders in terms of time exist between the expert opinions and the Danish Standards on Auditing. Moreover, it was stated by a central respondent that the Danish Standards on Auditing, in principle, are outdated before they are written down, as they only describe the existing practice at a specific time. Additionally, the individual auditor has plenty of autonomous opportunities as the Danish (and international) Standards on Auditing, in many ways, encourage the auditor to apply his/her own professional judgment and assessment. From the program, we can conclude that the concept good auditor practice is blurred and that the implementation of such a concept in Danish legislation probably originates in legislators lacking both competence and interest in the field. However, why introduce such a blurred concept or accept that the Danish group of auditors defines and decides what to include in the concept? Knowledge of this will be further enhanced by applying Goffman's impression management to the interaction between people that the concept implies. The analysis has primarily been based on interviews with central people from the Danish auditor business. The audience to the performance consists of the Danish Parliament (Folketinget), politicians, Danish Commerce and Companies Agency and the press, while the actors, the team, are primarily KPMG, Ernst & Young, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers and The Institute of State Authorized Public Accountants in Denmark (FSR). The authors of this thesis have chosen to define the performance as the fact that the group of auditors understands and complies with good auditor practice, as this view best reflects our introduction. According to statements from the interviewees and Goffman's theory, we have been able to conclude a free secret that describes good auditor practice as creating a joint knowledge database and keeping together the group of auditors. Other secrets can also be inferred, including an internal secret stating that good auditor practice is applied in terms of competition. Overall, the authors of this thesis are convinced that the use of the concept can primarily be ascribed to three conditions: the concept creates a joint knowledge database; the concept is applied in terms of competition; and legislators generally lack the competence and interest in the audit business.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages126