Revisors ansvar: En undersøgelse af tendenserne og konsekvenserne for revisionsbranchen

Henriette Bruun Jørgensen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Executive Summary: The focus on auditors’ liability has increased since the beginning of the 21st century because of the major corporate scandals. The purpose of this thesis is to examine trends in auditor liability and the impact it can have on the profession in the future. From this it is examined whether it is relevant to consider a limitation of the civil liability of auditors in Denmark. Auditors liability can by disciplinary and civil liability. Disciplinary liability is when the auditor acts inconsistently with generally accepted auditing standards. Civil liability is when someone suffers a loss and the auditor doesn’t have performed his work well. Based on my analysis it had been clear which problems there exist regarding to auditors liability. The first problem is responsibility between the management and the auditor. Second problem is that under Danish law there is a fundamental principle of joint liability. Together with the auditors statutory insurance it make the auditors to the most attractive objective to sue. Third problem is the phenomenon of “deep pocket”. Fourth problem is that auditors obligation to have an insurance when no one else have. Fifth problem is increasing liability claims which are out of proportion. Finally there is an expectation gab between the users of financial statements and the audit. These problems or trends can have some catastrophic consequences for the accounting profession. The consequence will be that one of the Big 4 collapse if they lose one of the billion Danish kroner lawsuits. This will hurt the competition which will affect the listed companies. One thing is the economic aspect but it will also damage the auditors reputation. Another consequence will be that no one wants to audit the listed company because the risk is too high. Finally it can have that consequence that no one want to insure auditors which will make the industry self-insured. Based on my analysis it can be concluded that it is about time for Denmark to establish a limitation of the civil liability of auditors. I have come up with some suggestions for improvements to prevent these consequences to become true. First establish compulsory liability insurance for board members and the managing director. Second limit the joint liability. Third change the requirements for auditors insurance. Fourth set higher requirements for board members.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2014
Number of pages84