Auditing without borders

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Journal Article
Accounting Organizations and Society, 2011, 36 (5), pp. 318 - 323
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The studies by Jamal and Sunder, 2011 and Jeacle and Carter, 2011, and Downer (2011) raise two interesting questions for accounting scholars: what is an audit, and what is auditing research? As illustrated by these papers, there are widespread certification activities in modern societies and the first theme of this essay is that accounting scholars can both learn from and contribute to a much broader research literature on certification and verification activities. While there are some exceptions, for the most part the accounting literature on auditing is quite narrow in scope, focusing almost exclusively on professional accountants, financial statement audits by licensed auditors and the related regulatory regimes (e.g., Cooper and Robson, 2006, Francis, 2011 and Nelson and Tan, 2005).1 Thus the essays title Auditing without Borders is an appeal to expand our thinking about auditing as a more generalizable activity, and a way of enriching our understanding of financial statement audits while at the same time contributing to a broader scholarship on certification and verification processes.2 Even though auditing can be conceptualized as part of a more generalizable activity, the second theme I take up at the end of the essay is that context also matters and is very important in understanding specific certification practices
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