An exploratory study of the pressures and ethical dilemmas in the audit conflict
Barrainkua Aroztegi, Itsaso
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Revista de Contabilidad-Spanish Accounting Review 19(1) : 10-20 (2016)
The present study analyzes the pressures perceived by auditors in their professional activity. Furthermore, it explores the ethical acceptability of questionable practices and the way auditors resolve the conflicts of interest with which they are confronted. This paper also studies the influence of the size of the audit firm and the experience of the auditors on the perception of pressures, their ethical judgment, and the way of resolving conflicts of interest. Data were collected through a questionnaire administered to auditors from small and medium-sized audit firms in Spain, members of REA (Registro de Economistas Auditores). This study contributes to the international academic literature on auditing behavior, as it provides new empirical data on the pressures perceived, not only those from the audit client, which have been extensively studied in the academic literature, but in addition, it highlights pressures arising from the audit firm itself that could also have a detrimental effect on the audit quality. It also contributes to the understanding of the effect of these pressures on the behavior of auditors. The results of this study are also of particular relevance for the legal and professional Spanish auditing regulators as they face, at this moment, the challenge of developing a set of ethical standards that should improve the ethical judgment and behavior of accounting professionals. (C) 2013 ASEPUC. Published by Elsevier Espana, S.L.U.