The external auditor's role and relationship with an audit client are not purely matters of private concern between the two parties. The rationale for the external auditor's work-indeed a primary justification for the existence of the public accounting profession-arises from the need for reliable financial information in order for our economy to operate smoothly. Thus the auditor, in certifying financial statements, performs a quasi-public function. The necessary relationship between auditor and client is one of complete independence. In recent years public policymakers including the U.S. Congress have questioned the propriety of auditors' performing nonaudit services for their clients. This paper reports the results of an empirical study of U.S. corporate directors who considered the propriety of allowing a firm's auditors to perform various nonaudit service engagements.The results show, especially in the case of systems design, increasing director concern and a lack of overall consensus as nonaudit services approach 40 percent of the firm's audit fee. Policy implications of the findings are considered.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science