The purpose of this paper is to examine the direct linkage between professional scepticism and auditor independence.
The study reviews the extant literature on professional scepticism, auditor independence, conflict of interest and unconscious bias.
Auditor independence is a fundamental antecedent to professional scepticism. However, auditor independence is impossible due to the auditor–client structure and conscious and unconscious personal bias. The threats to auditor independence are powerful incentives that reduce professional scepticism, making it difficult to exercise professional scepticism while making professional judgement.
An understanding of the direct link between professional scepticism and auditor independence is necessary to appreciate the context and meaning of professional scepticism in relation to the greater body of literature and ongoing concerns of audit regulators. This paper, which conceptualises the linkage between professional scepticism and auditor independence, provides a platform for future research to be conducted to examine the validity of the discussions and how a discourse in a moral framework embedded within accounting education may assist in improving auditor independence and professional scepticism.
It is insufficient for audit regulators to assess professional scepticism by audit outputs. Threats to independence should be brought into the assessment. To ensure auditor independence is not compromised, auditors should be made aware of the ethical dimensions of their decisions and reminded constantly to monitor virtue ethics behaviours.
This paper brings into mainstream accounting and auditing literature and research a psychological perspective of auditor independence in the discussion of professional scepticism that is seldom examined.
Chiang, C. (2016), "Conceptualising the linkage between professional scepticism and auditor independence", Pacific Accounting Review, Vol. 28 No. 2, pp. 180-200. https://doi.org/10.1108/PAR-08-2015-0034Download as .RIS
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