The Role of the Auditor in Regards to Going Concern: An Empirical Analysis of Auditor’s Role in Connection to Going Concern, with Evaluation of New Legal Regulations

Frederik Juhl Hestbæk

Student thesis: Master thesis


The role of the auditor is to serve the public people, and represent the interests of society. An auditor’s job is to help and advice companies succeed in their business, however the job also comprises to make sure the companies follow laws and regulations. This can be a tough balance as the client chooses and pays the auditor.
During the financial crisis, many companies went bankrupt, which causes doubts and reflections upon the role of the auditor and the security system in general. The recent years have been highly affected by huge scandals where money laundering, dividend fraud from tax authorities, fraud of public funds and panama papers have resulted in doubts and wondering of how this can happen. How can big established companies go bankrupt? Who is responsible? Why did no one react and should there be more security instances to avoid these scandals in the society? These are just a few of the questions that arises, when such scandals appear in society. These questions and speculations are the background of the thesis.
Since the financial crisis, the government has tried to create better conditions for financially challenged companies, where a new chapter of “reconstruction” in the Bankruptcy Act has been implemented. Along with changes in business laws, the audit standards have been updated. In particular ISA 570 and 701 have affected how auditors report going concern. The updated ISA 570 has caused higher information of going concern in the audit report. ISA 701 has resulted in more information in the audit report, where the auditor shall state a “Key Audit Matter” in case a particular matter is important to the reader of the financials.
The thesis will take its basis from the practical cases and experience, and analyze whether the above mentioned initiatives have had an affect on the business life in Denmark. The thesis will consist of analysis of the theory and the background of the laws. This will be connected to practice, as the thesis will be based upon three conducted interviews with experts of their fields. The thesis will discuss, evaluate and conclude on auditor’s role in regards to going concern, and draw parallels to the business life in general and the circumstances that are given from the Danish government’s side.
This thesis concludes that the changes and initiatives did not have the intended affect on the business life and has resulted in stricter requirements to reconstruct a suffering business. The changes to ISA 570 and ISA 701 have not changed much of the audit work, and it is concluded that the changes only has cosmetic character. The information of the financials remain the same however, annual reports remain of high complexity. It is recommended to ease the complexity of the financials to make it more understandable to non-professional readers.

EducationsMSc in Auditing, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages118