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Auditor’s obligation to report suspicious economic crimes: - How auditors in Sweden perceive and manage this duty
Dalarna University, School of Technology and Business Studies, Business Administration and Management.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Title: Auditors obligation to report suspicious crime – and how auditors perceive and

manage this duty

Level: Master level

Author: Susanna Winge

Supervisor: Fredrik Hartwig

Date: 2015-05-25

Background

The purpose of auditors has developed during the years, from ‘detecting crime’ to ‘ensure a

true and fair view’. Still, the ambitions of the politics were that auditors should be able to

prevent economic crimes, and also avoid accounting scandals. On January 1st 1999, it was

stated by law that auditors had an obligation to report clients if they suspected that any

crime has been committed within a company. According to the literature, auditors do not

have the right competencies to interpret what is a crime or just inaccuracies. Auditors do

also have an obligation to keep silence, towards their clients, which are described as a

cornerstone in their business. Earlier studies have indicated that auditors rather relate to

their confidentiality, because of their low knowledge regarding economic crimes.

Purpose

The purpose of this study is find out ‘How do auditors in Sweden perceive and manage

their obligation to report suspicious crime?’

Method

I have performed a qualitative study, where my primary data are sampled by nine, semistructured

interviews with auditors in Dalarna. The interviews were performed face-to-face,

and the questions were designed along the secondary data, in purpose to answer my

research questions and purpose. My secondary data consists of literature, Swedish laws and

propositions.

Result and conclusions

The result of this study shows that auditors do not make decision whether to reporting or

not. Despite it is the auditors obligation, it is the lawyers within their organizations that take

the decision if a report should be established or not. The respondents in my study consider

themselves to have the competencies and knowledge to discover errors, and therefore, they

do not need to posses the legal knowledge. My respondents think this is a difficult

obligation, but do not think the responsibility should be on someone else

Suggestions for future research

All respondents who participated in this study works at larger agencies, and have access to

competent lawyers within their organisations. I think this has affected my result, and

therefore I suggest a further study with auditors on smaller agencies, who not have their

own lawyers employed.

It would also be interesting to investigate stakeholder’s perspective and expectations about

auditor’s duty to report suspicious crimes, and perhaps even irregularities. It would also be

interesting to investigate why auditors do not acquire the competencies needed to establish

reports of economic crimes.

Contribution of the thesis

The contribution of this paper is that auditors do not need to posses the knowledge about

how to manage their obligation to report, because they have legally competent people

(lawyers) within their organization, who are responsible in these matters. Auditors perceive

this obligation as difficult, and leave the decision-making to legally competent people.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
Keyword [en]
auditors, responsibility, independence, competencies, obligation to report, confidentiality, and expectations
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-17988OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-17988DiVA: diva2:822964
Available from: 2015-06-17 Created: 2015-06-17

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • ieee
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Language
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  • en-US
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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