Illuminating the Limits of Auditor Accountability for Fraud Detection Through a Historical Study of Internal Control Evaluation
Journal of Business, Industry and Economics, Volume 17, Spring 2012
19 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2011 Last revised: 3 Aug 2012
Date Written: June 6, 2011
Messner (2009) and Roberts (2009) argue that there are limits of accountability and transparency for accountants. We study the 20th-century development of independent auditors’ evaluation of internal controls as a U.S. example of attempted limits on auditors’ fraud detection responsibilities. While internal controls provide market value, their evaluation during an audit has value largely to auditors themselves, who shift some of the costs of the audit and much of the responsibility for fraud detection to management. A content analysis of the Montgomery’s Auditing series from 1912 to 1998 demonstrates that the percent of text devoted to both internal control techniques and their evaluation was a positive function of time, while the attention given to fraud detection techniques moved in the opposite direction. Our data do not support the literature that explains internal controls evaluation by auditors as an efficiency measure or reaction to competitive price pressures.
Keywords: Internal Controls, Auditing, Montgomery's Auditing, Auditor Accountability, History of Auditing, Fraud Detection
JEL Classification: K22, L84, M40, M41, M49, N22, N42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation