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The evolution of the Swedish auditor's report
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Karlstad Business School.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7347-9655
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The auditor’s report has been criticised for being uninformative at least since the late nineteenth century. Despite persistent requests for detailed information in order to facilitate users’ decision-making processes, auditors have only recently started to provide entity-specific information in their reports.

Against this background, two research questions are raised: (1) What were the driving forces behind the evolution of the auditor’s report? (2) How can dissatisfaction with and misperceptions of audit reporting be reduced in order to support financial statement users’ decision-making processes? As the object of study, the Swedish auditor’s report is chosen since it has, up to the present day, deviated from reports in other jurisdictions and thus enables an extension of knowledge in the field of audit reporting.

The first part of this dissertation contributes to previous auditing history and auditing profession research by answering the first research question through an analysis of approximately 1,800 historical Swedish auditor’s reports and numerous related documents. Applying a critical-theory perspective, the research findings suggest that during the course of history, auditors were able to adopt an auditor’s rather than a user’s perspective despite arguing in the interest of users.

The second part of the dissertation contributes to previous audit reporting and expectation gap research by answering the second research question through a vignette experiment with Swedish financial statement users. The research findings indicate that dissatisfaction with the current auditor’s report can be reduced through additional entity-specific information concerning the auditor’s independence, the audit process and the audit findings, and less general information about the auditor’s responsibilities.

Overall, this dissertation connects past events concerning the auditor’s report to current challenges and indicates possible future developments.

Abstract [en]

The auditor’s report is the financial auditor’s primary means of communication with users of financial statements. It has been criticised for being an uninformative document at least since the late nineteenth century. Persistent requests for change in order to facilitate users’ decision-making processes include detailed information about the audited financial statements, the conducted audits and the auditors. Despite these requests, auditors have only recently started to provide some entity-specific information in their reports.

This dissertation contributes to the topical issue of audit reporting in relation to users’ needs through two studies. The first study retraces the historical evolution of the auditor’s report in order to explain the driving forces behind this evolution and the reasons why users have had to accept uninformative reports for such a long time. The second study examines ways to reduce dissatisfaction with and misperceptions of audit reporting and evaluates the current auditor’s report with regard to financial statement users’ decision-making processes.

Overall, the findings of this dissertation cast doubt on the past and current willingness of auditors to deliver reports that are aligned with users’ needs to make informed decisions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet , 2017. , 463 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2017:35
Keyword [en]
audit reporting, auditing history, auditing profession, audit expectation gap
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-63720ISBN: 978-91-7063-812-1 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7063-907-4 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-63720DiVA: diva2:1141556
Public defence
2017-11-02, 11D227, Karlstad, 13:15 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-10-13 Created: 2017-09-15 Last updated: 2017-10-13Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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