A Study of How the Danish Business Authority Exercises its Mandate to Initiate Investigations of Auditors and Audit Firms in Comparison with the FRC and the Swedish Inspectorate of Auditors

Mathias Skovdahl Hansen

Student thesis: Master thesis


As a consequence of the accounting scandals in the early 2000s, the European Union passed Directive 2006/43/EC with the purpose to ensure audit quality and thus restore the public trust in financial information. To implement the Directive the Danish Parliament passed the updated Danish Act on Approved Auditors and Audit Firms effective from the first of July 2008, which among other things included a legal basis, regulated by the Acts paragraph 37-42, for the Danish Business Authority to conduct investigations into auditors and audit firms based on a suspicion of alleged misconduct in the audit of a company’s financial statements. Besides providing the Danish Business Authority legal basis to conduct investigations, the Act also provides legal basis for the Danish Business Authority to demand any documentation needed to investigate and assess an auditor or an audit firm, and further without warrant to enter a non-residential premises without a warrant, hence causing the Danish Business Authority to have both the executive, judicial and legislative powers. This has been met with great concern from the FSR – Danish Auditors. Based on an empirical approach this dissertation investigates how the Danish Business Authority exercises its mandate to initiate investigations of auditors and audit firms in comparison with the FRC and the Swedish Inspectorate of Auditors. Using annual activity reports supplemented by explicitly selected current and passed investigations, the analysis part of the thesis provides a fundamental understanding of how the Danish Business Authority has been exercising its mandate and furthermore points key differences and similarities with FRC and SIA as it relates to the implementation practices. It is concluded that investigations are likely to evolve around misconduct regarding principles of professional ethics and further whether the auditor has ensured sufficient and appropriate audit evidence – in particular when dealing with complex areas of the audit such as areas requiring the auditor to challenge accounting judgments imposed by management. The thesis is concluded with a reflection of possible implications of the study, thus providing some interesting topics for future master’s degree students to scrutinize further based on the results of this thesis

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages150
SupervisorsThomas Riise Johansen