The nature of the audit expectation gap, its existence in the Irish context and the views of the Irish accountancy profession on bridging the gap
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In recent times, the auditing profession around the world has been involuntarily placed in the spotlight, mainly because of the spectacular corporate collapses of seemingly successful companies and the subsequent implication of the reporting auditors. This ‘widespread criticism of, and litigation against, auditors indicates that there is a gap between society’s expectations of auditors and auditors’ performance, as perceived by society’ (Porter, 1993). The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the nature of the audit expectation gap, to investigate the existence of the audit expectation gap in the Irish context and to determine the views of Irish practitioners on ways of bridging the expectation gap. The Commission of Inquiry into the Expectations of Users of Financial Statements (1992) examined the existence of the expectation gap in Ireland during the early 1990’s. However, there appears to be a lack of evidence of the extent of the audit expectation gap currently in existence in the Irish context. This dissertation aims to address this issue and to determine the most appropriate methods of narrowing the gap. The findings of this study indicate that an audit expectation gap exists, particularly with regard to the following issues: fraud detection and prevention, responsibility for internal controls, responsibility for the maintenance of accounting records, the auditors use of judgement regarding the selection of audit procedures and the level of assurance given by the audit report. The findings also reveal that the Irish accountancy profession are aware that an audit expectation gap exists. The interviewees clearly believed that the most effective method of reducing the audit expectation gap would be the education of both shareholders and company directors with regard to the limitations of the audit process as well as the roles and responsibilities of both the auditors and company directors.
- Theses - Business LYIT 
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