The purpose of this paper is to investigate insights into current practices in auditing “environmental matters” in accordance with Audit Guidance Statement 1010: The Consideration of Environmental Matters in the Audit of Financial Reports, which was introduced by the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants in 2001.
The approach to gathering evidence for this study is qualitative semi‐structured in‐depth personal interviews with 27 auditors: 18 financial auditors (FAs) in chartered accounting practice and nine public sector auditors (PSAs) from the office of the Auditor‐General.
The interview findings confirmed that the auditors respond to isomorphic pressures that affect them, either by employing acquiesce or compromise strategies and that institutional theory fits best as an appropriate theory to frame the research. Environmental matters are only considered in the planning of a company audit when it is significant and relevant to financial reporting. However, evidence showed that FAs are influenced by mimetic isomorphism by adopting the perspective of company management. On the other hand, PSAs are driven by the legislative mandate imposed by the Local Government Act 2002 to search out and verify the validity, accuracy and completeness of information on environmental matters. FAs auditing both companies in the private sector and public sector organisations are able to maintain two dissimilar approaches and attitudes, depending on the type of entities they are auditing.
As with all qualitative interviews, there are some limitations associated with individuals' responses to the semi‐structured open‐ended interview questions.
To prioritise the consideration of environmental matters in the audit practices of FAs for company audits will require both coercive and normative pressures in their organizational sphere.
This study assists in understanding an audit phenomenon not widely known. It would also add a geographical variation to existing literature.
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