During the last few years, one case has succeeded the other concerning fraud and hints of fraud in the media. Cases are often presented in such a way that they add fuel to the expectation gap, famous among accountants, between public society and accountants. Public society expects the accountant to detect fraud which is of a category where it reaches the media. Accountants consider such public opinion to be a matter of misunderstanding in that they do not hold a concrete responsibility for detecting fraud. Legislation, in relation to accounting, appears to escalate this dilemma which makes up a field of problem. In order to explore the problem, the author has chosen to investigate public expectations in the form of ethics and the power structures of society. Further, to investigate real legal demands on accountants in the form of existing legislation. Finally, to investigate knowledge employed by the specialist, the certified fraud examiner, in order to determine whether this knowledge, in relation to accountants, is employed in an optimum way in the Danish context. The approaches taken by Michel Foucault and Jürgen Habermas towards sociality and society appear to be able to explain why accountants feel self-regulating and why society or public society has either an ideal or unrealistic expectation of a higher ethical agenda for accountants. Regardless, accountants role and responsibility towards fraud depends on the social philosophical approach. The basis for this relativistic conclusion is to be found in the wording of the law. The law as a whole must partly be considered as a reaction to substantial fraud as it contains so much similarity with the American Sarbanes Oxley Act and EU 8’th directive, both a response to major fraud scandals but, at the same time, in those parts of the law which accountants directly administer, has a interpretative wording and an ethical contention. Consequently, there are no requirements for accountants to detect fraud, but rather requirements concerning ethical behaviour when carrying out the acts of accounting. This ethical behaviour is hereafter defined by the accountancy profession itself in the form of ISA 240. ISA 240 contains a number of accounting acts for the purpose of precise detection of fraud, along with a number of examples of fraud risk indicators which accountants ought to keep in mind when executing accounting acts. These risk indicators are to be found in the appendix of ISA 240, and are a tool to assist accountants in determining when fraud is successfully identified and detected. This conception is confirmed by a large coincidence of risk indicators in the appendix of ISA 240 and the results of CFE-related research. The CFE research is characterised by a humanistic or hermeneutic approach. Certified fraud examiners are occupied with understanding the criminal in order to be able to identify the person concerned. The spill-over effect of this approach of examination practise, as well as communication of related knowledge, are considered to make a difference in successfully detecting fraud. Having said that, key results from CFE research is mainly applicable in relation to corporate governance, whereas for accountants to apply it in a passive and controlling way. While CFE researchers recommend openness and knowledge about fraud in the workplace as a very effective method to reduce fraud, the expectation gap between society and accountants may also be resolved or reduced through openness and knowledge to the benefit of both parties. It is the opinion of the author that CFE research results, in connection with accounting, are not exploited in an optimal way by Danish accountants. The related knowledge is materially available, but the communicative factor is not being sufficiently recognised by the accountancy profession.
|Educations||MSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||87|