Lack of Qualified Employess in the Audit Industry: An Examination of the Employee Development in the Audit Industry and What Consequence the Development will have for Auditor's Compliance with the Danish Audit Act S. 15 a subsection 1, 3)

Siri Elise Norman

Student thesis: Master thesis


For many years it has been discussed both internally in the audit industry and by industry associations, that the audit industry lacks qualified employees. This is currently seen by employees working overtime and long hours and through the fact, that audit firms have to refuse new tasks and new clients. At the end of the year 2020 a bill emerged as a result of a wish for a new political agreement. Danish companies were required to engage with an auditor. The bill was welcomed by FSR – danske revisorer which seems rather contradictory as this would mean additional clients. Although the bill was not implemented, I found it interesting whether the audit industry will lack qualified employees in the near future and whether the industry can actually comply with the Audit Act's rules (Danish Act on Approved Auditors and Audit Firms) regarding necessary competent employees, the necessary time and the necessary resources. In this thesis, the overall questions therefore are: “Will the audit industry in the future lack qualified employees and what significance will the lack of qualified employees have for the auditor's compliance with the Danish Audit Act S. 15 a 3) and which solutions can counteract the derived consequences thereof?” These questions and the related sub-questions have been answered on the basis of the stated method and delimitation. The analysis has been performed by an examination of what role an auditor and the auditors work have in society and why the society and the companies need an auditor. In order to answer the research questions, a review will therefore be made of the theoretical basis for the need for the auditor's work, where I use David Flint's audit theory and the Agent-Principal theory in the study. In addition, the study involved an analysis and assessment of current and expected employee development in the audit industry, as well as which technological development trends can counteract the resulting consequences of lack of qualified employees. The thesis finds that the audit industry in the future will lack employees highest in the education hierarchy, which will mean that the auditing companies in some areas can experience challenges in complying with the Danish Audit Act S. 15 a 3). This will affect the quality of the auditor's report, which according to the theories will lead to the principal and society loses its confidence in the auditor's report. Looking at the solutions that can counteract the derived consequences of the industry lacking a qualified employee, the study shows that there are future technological potentials that are considered developed to optimize the auditor's work. This will mean that in the future the expected technological development will be able to release time resources, as part of the auditor's work actions will be replaced by sophisticated technological resources. Technological advances often require large investments, and technological reforms can have its challenges in relation to the implementation horizon. As the technology is not ready to be used at present, it is difficult to assess how it will affect the audit industry. Also, new technological features will require the auditor's competencies to be developed to reflect technological developments with respect to the audit process. Otherwise, this may directly impede the implementation of digital tools. Whether the industry should rely on technology to offset the lack of certified auditors in the future is a big question.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2021
Number of pages84