Compliance Audit and Performance Audit in Danish NGOs

Nikoline Bredal Bach & Anja Hansen

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This master thesis examines the effect that the introduction of the standards on public auditing has had on the audit practice in Danish NGOs. Evidence is provided from a series of semi-structured interviews which are analyzed through the lens of actor-network theory. The introduction of a new way of conducting compliance audit and performance audit in Danish NGOs involves the construction of a network of entities and interessement devices, which then have to be enrolled and finally mobilized. This thesis focuses on these four moments of translation: problematization, interessement, enrolment and mobilization, which describe how the actor-network is being built and stabilized. This is for the purpose of understanding the dynamics of the actor-network with respect to audit practice in Danish NGOs and for the purpose of examining whether the recent changes in the conceptual framework of compliance audit and performance audit has stabilized the actor-network. The standards on public auditing were developed by the National Audit Office of Denmark in collaboration with the Institute of State-Authorized Public Accountants in Denmark and took effect on 1 January 2017. As this thesis shows it required many negotiations and compromises between the two actors before being able to agree on a conceptual framework which finally became the standards on public auditing. The analysis uncovers that although one of the main purposes for introducing the standards on public auditing was to clarify the professional and technical requirements expected of state-authorized public accountants when conducting compliance audit and performance audit, this is far from what has been achieved. In fact, the introduction of the standards on public auditing has created confusion among some of the actors which comes to show by the occurrence of a stream of overflow. It appears that not all state-authorized public accountants have understood that there are specific requirements for the auditor’s report according to the standards on public auditing. This is just one example of the multiple overflowing identified. To investigate this overflowing further, the analysis is followed by a reflection of the possible underlying reasons for the overflowing identified during the process of enrolment. The overall conclusion of the thesis is that the actor-network regarding audit practice in Danish NGOs has not been stabilized by the recent changes in the conceptual framework of compliance audit and performance audit. Furthermore, the thesis has uncovered that the standards on public auditing creates a risk of the purpose of performance audit no longer being fulfilled.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageDanish
Publication date2019
Number of pages122
SupervisorsPeter Skærbæk