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Implementing combined assurance: insights from multiple case studies

Loïc Decaux (Louvain School of Management, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium)
Gerrit Sarens (Louvain School of Management, Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium)

Managerial Auditing Journal

ISSN: 0268-6902

Article publication date: 5 January 2015

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Abstract

Purpose

This purpose of this paper is to investigate how to implement a combined assurance program.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper uses qualitative data obtained through semi-structured interviews with six multinationals at different stages of combined assurance implementation maturity.

Findings

The paper finds that organizations are still learning through combined assurance implementation because no organization seems to have attained a mature combined assurance program. Nevertheless, our descriptive findings reveal that a successful combined assurance implementation follows six important components.

Research limitations/implications

One limitation of this study is that, as the organizations studied are at different stages of combined assurance program implementation, data may have comparability issues. Another limitation is that different interviewees were studied from one case to another.

Practical implications

The results have implications both for organizations that do not yet have a combined assurance program in place and for those currently at the implementation stage. It has also implications for chief audit executives who are good candidates to lead a combined assurance implementation and for regulators, as the study describes combined assurance as an important accountability mechanism that helps boards and audit committees exercise their oversight role properly.

Originality/value

The study is the first to address combined assurance implementation. It complements the study of the Institute of Internal Auditors UK and Ireland (2010), which identifies the reasons for failed attempts to coordinate assurance activities, by illustrating combined assurance implementation through six international case studies of organizations at different combined assurance implementation stages.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. They also appreciated helpful comments on preliminary versions of this paper received from participants of the 11th European Academic Conference on Internal Audit and Corporate Governance. They acknowledge the research support of the Institute of Internal Auditors Research Foundation. Last but not least, they would like to thank all participants from the six organizations interviewed.

Citation

Decaux, L. and Sarens, G. (2015), "Implementing combined assurance: insights from multiple case studies", Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 56-79. https://doi.org/10.1108/MAJ-08-2014-1074

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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