|Statutory auditors are of critical importance to the efficient operation of the economy
and capital markets. They perform the public assurance role, by giving credibility to
audited financial statements and by acting in the public interest.
In Ireland, regulations affecting statutory auditors have been evolving since 1963.
However, recent years have characterised a significant escalation of the regulations
affecting statutory auditors. On the one hand, legislators have imposed many new
‘whistle - blowing’ obligations on statutory auditors in order to protect investors and
in the name of the public interests. On the other hand, the APB, driven by a need of
harmonisation and also investors’ protection has introduced the universal set of the
This study has shown that all of the new regulations were designed for audits of large,
often multinational companies and they are not necessary appropriate for small audit
practices. It also reveals that the volume, complexity and rigidity of these regulations
put an unnecessary burden and pressure on small practitioners. This research further
presents the views of small audit practitioners on the new regulations and also
assesses the effectiveness of these provisions taking into account the special
relationship between small practitioners and their clients.
In addition, this thesis discusses the proposals concerning different concessions for
small practitioners such as: de minimis provisions, an introduction of a separate set of
standards and also exemptions from certain provisions. Furthermore, it evaluates and
recommends how the small practitioners can cope with the high burden of regulations
in the fast changing regulatory framework.
Finally, this study anticipates the potential future of small audit firms in light of the
current project of the European Commission considering an increase of the audit
exemption threshold to €10 million