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Article
Publication date: 21 December 2020

Ahmed Atef Oussii and Neila Boulila

The purpose of this paper aims to investigate whether the source of audit committee accounting expertise influences the internal audit function (IAF) effectiveness in the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper aims to investigate whether the source of audit committee accounting expertise influences the internal audit function (IAF) effectiveness in the Tunisian setting.

Design/methodology/approach

In the analysis, the authors conduct a survey of chief internal auditors from Tunisian listed companies. Then, a multivariate regression analysis is performed in order to analyze the relationship between audit committee financial expertise and IAF effectiveness.

Findings

The findings of the present study show that audit committee accounting financial expertise is most likely to be positively associated with the implementation of internal audit report recommendations. The authors also find that only financial expertise gained from accounting education and experience (e.g. an audit committee member with experience as a certified public accountant, auditor, chief financial officer or chief accounting officer) is associated with a stronger implementation of IAF recommendations, but not financial expertise gained from work experience in finance positions.

Practical implications

These results may have implications for regulatory bodies. They can provide a better understanding of the role of the audit committee expertise in monitoring internal audit processes. The major contribution of this study is that the audit committee's oversight role is strengthened if the committee members have accounting and auditing expertise.

Originality/value

The study extends prior literature by providing evidence that the source of audit committee accounting financial expertise enhances internal audit effectiveness beyond the outcomes it has on financial reporting quality. The study also contributes to the ongoing debate in the corporate governance literature concerning the definition of the financial expertise of audit committee members.

Details

Journal of Economic and Administrative Sciences, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1026-4116

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Article
Publication date: 18 October 2021

Fatma Ben Slama, Ahmed Atef Oussii and Mohamed Faker Klibi

The purpose of this paper is to investigate in-depth and explain the issues related to the experience of Tunisia, a developing country, in its attempt to move from…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate in-depth and explain the issues related to the experience of Tunisia, a developing country, in its attempt to move from Euro-Continental rule-based generally accepted accounting principles (GAAPs) to an accounting system adapted to international financial reporting standards (IFRS).

Design/methodology/approach

The study is conducted via a qualitative methodology based on a content analysis of primary data from interviews with key actors involved in financial reporting in Tunisia.

Findings

Findings reveal that local Tunisian GAAPs, adapted to IFRS in their 1996 version, failed to establish a financial reporting accounting culture and meet public-interest firms’ informational needs. This is mainly related to factors, such as the simplified methods adopted (generally adequate to the identified needs of users of small and medium-sized entity financial statements) and the hybrid aspect of the Tunisian accounting standards due to the co-existence of Euro-Continental and Anglo-Saxon parties. Moreover, the findings show that the lack of political willpower and the absence of updates to changes in IFRS have compromised the proper functioning of standardization and control structures.

Practical implications

The study’s results may interest regulators and policymakers of many developing countries that have not pursued the harmonization of their local GAAPs with IFRS. In addition, findings from the research provide insights into the rough road towards harmonization, the dysfunctions of the latter and delays in developing countries.

Originality/value

The research highlights the complexity for an emerging country with Euro-Continental accounting traditions to move to IFRS.

Details

Accounting Research Journal, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1030-9616

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Article
Publication date: 30 July 2019

Ahmed Atef Oussii and Mohamed Faker Klibi

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether chief audit executive (CAE) gender has a significant impact on the internal audit function (IAF) effectiveness as…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether chief audit executive (CAE) gender has a significant impact on the internal audit function (IAF) effectiveness as proxied by the extent to which the internal audit function uses quality assurance techniques.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses a multivariate regression model to analyze the association between CAE gender and the use of quality assurance techniques in fieldwork as a proxy for IAF effectiveness. Data were collected using a survey of 74 internal auditors from Tunisian listed companies.

Findings

The results indicate that IAFs run by a female CAE are more likely to incorporate quality assurance techniques into fieldwork than IAFs run by male CAEs. Therefore, internal audit departments managed by women tend to be more effective.

Practical implications

Findings highlight to regulators and reform advocates the importance of having women on the CAE position will improve internal audit practices’ quality. Thus, the gender difference in internal auditing should be more strongly emphasized in different cultural and economic contexts.

Originality/value

This study provides new insights which add to the existing gender literature by introducing a North African perspective and simultaneously providing new insights that highlight the importance of having women on top management positions in internal auditing and the positive effects which come with it.

Details

African Journal of Economic and Management Studies, vol. 10 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-0705

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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2018

Ahmed Atef Oussii and Neila Boulila Taktak

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether coordination between external auditors and the internal audit function affect the timeliness of audit reports as proxied by…

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine whether coordination between external auditors and the internal audit function affect the timeliness of audit reports as proxied by audit delay.

Design/methodology/approach

This study uses a survey of chief internal auditors from Tunisian listed companies to analyze the extent of coordination between IAFs and external auditors. Data spanning a four year period (2011-2014) was collected for 53 listed companies. Further, regression analysis was used to test the hypothesis.

Findings

Results indicate that greater coordination between internal and external auditors results in timelier financial reporting.

Practical implications

Overall, the study makes several important contributions. Findings provide important insights that an IAF acts as a valuable resource to external auditors. The results should be of interest to managers, external auditors and the Tunisian Financial Market Council.

Originality/value

This paper is one of few studies which have examined the association between internal-external audit coordination and timeliness of audit reports in an emerging market. The study makes a meaningful contribution to the corporate governance literature by investigating the influence of internal audit assistance on the delivery of timely audited financial information to the capital market. Results also have policy implications for Tunisian regulators with respect to the promotion of internal auditing best practices.

Details

EuroMed Journal of Business, vol. 13 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1450-2194

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Article
Publication date: 3 September 2020

Ahmed Atef Oussii and Mohamed Faker Klibi

De facto use of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is a particular form of voluntary compliance with International Accounting Standards (IAS). It is…

Abstract

Purpose

De facto use of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is a particular form of voluntary compliance with International Accounting Standards (IAS). It is practiced when an enterprise uses a number (and not all) of international standards as a complement to overcome the unachieved nature of local generally accepted accounting principles. The purpose of this paper is to analyze, at first, whether the financial expertise of Tunisian audit committee’s members is associated with de facto use of IFRS. Second, it explores to what extent and in what direction this association evolves when the factor auditor’s size is introduced as a moderator variable.

Design/methodology/approach

Data spanning a seven-year period (2012–2018) was hand-collected for a sample of 497 firm-year observations. Further, regression analysis was used to test the study’s hypothesis.

Findings

Findings show that the proportion of financial experts who sit on the audit committee is positively associated with the de facto use of IFRS. Besides, the association between audit committee members’ financial expertise and the voluntary use of IFRS is more pronounced when the company is audited by at least one BIG 4 audit firm.

Practical implications

The paper’s findings have implications for regulatory bodies and standards setters who are concerned with the functioning of the audit committee, especially when it comes to enhancing the quality of the financial statements. The results also shed light on the role of financial experts on the audit committee and Big 4 auditors to enforce the de facto use of IFRS.

Originality/value

The findings of this study contain an important message for the drift toward national de jure convergence with IAS.

Details

Corporate Governance: The International Journal of Business in Society, vol. 20 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1472-0701

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2018

Ahmed Atef Oussii and Neila Boulila Taktak

This paper aims to investigate the association between internal audit function (IAF) characteristics and internal control quality.

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4112

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate the association between internal audit function (IAF) characteristics and internal control quality.

Design/methodology/approach

Using data gathered from 59 chief audit executives from Tunisian listed companies, this paper uses a regression model to examine research hypothesis related to the association between IAF characteristics and internal control quality.

Findings

The findings of the current study reveal that internal control quality is significantly and positively associated with IAF competence, internal audit quality control assurance level, follow-up process and audit committee’s involvement in reviewing the internal audit program and results.

Practical implications

The findings have significant implications for IAF wishing to enhance their effectiveness, by recognizing the impact of the IAF’s characteristics on internal control quality. The findings of this study also have significant implications for regulatory bodies who are concerned with the internal control quality, managers and audit committees who determine IAF investment, oversight IAF activities and assess internal auditors’ performance.

Originality/value

This study helps fill a gap in the extant literature where existing empirical evidence of how the IAF characteristics influences the quality of the financial reporting process in emerging markets is scant.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 33 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

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Article
Publication date: 3 July 2017

Ahmed Atef Oussii and Mohamed Faker Klibi

This paper aims to examine the business communication skills that accounting students see as having the highest importance for career success. It also explores the current…

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2390

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine the business communication skills that accounting students see as having the highest importance for career success. It also explores the current levels of development of these skills and analyzes them through a comparative study between three Tunisian business schools.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors used a questionnaire sent to180 students from three business schools to provide insights into the development of communication skills perceived important for a successful accounting career.

Findings

The results indicate that all students are conscious of the importance held by communication skills for career success in the accounting profession. However, they feel that their aptitudes are sometimes poorly developed, especially when it comes to proficiency in French (as a language of business in Tunisia) and written skills.

Practical implications

The paper’s findings offer important guidance concerning the communication skills that accounting students consider most needed by the Tunisian labor market. The findings of this study may be useful for curriculum development in local and international contexts.

Originality/value

This study is conducted in a developing country where the graduate unemployment rate is about 30 per cent. This high unemployment often affects service professions like accounting. Moreover, in Tunisia, accounting education focuses particularly on technical aspects. So far, no studies have been conducted to show whether students nowadays are aware of the increasing importance of generic skills in accounting practice. As a result, the conclusions of this study could provide Tunisian stakeholders with insights into ways of potentially improving accounting graduates’ employability.

Details

Journal of Financial Reporting and Accounting, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1985-2517

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Article
Publication date: 31 May 2019

Ahmed Atef Oussii, Mohamed Faker Klibi and Insaf Ouertani

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the perception held by attendees about the role and the effectiveness of their audit committees.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the perception held by attendees about the role and the effectiveness of their audit committees.

Design/methodology/approach

The investigation was conducted via a qualitative methodology through the content analysis of interviews conducted with 33 attendees of audit committee meetings of Tunisian listed companies.

Findings

The findings reveal that audit committees do not have the means to achieve the objectives that they have been given by the legal texts, which are likely to characterize their work as “ceremonial” or “symbolic.” This paper also found that the most significant effects of the audit committee chair’s role come through informal meetings and conversations.

Practical implications

The paper’s findings have policy implications for regulators. Findings from this research may allow regulators to assess whether the audit committee activities in Tunisian companies meet their expectations.

Originality/value

This paper tries to fill a gap in the extant literature and provides meaningful information on activities performed by audit committees and the extent to which they are perceived effective in the eyes of attendees of audit-committee meetings. This study is one of the few field investigations that have analyzed audit committees’ effectiveness in emerging markets through interviews with attendees involved in audit-committee processes.

Details

Managerial Auditing Journal, vol. 34 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-6902

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Article
Publication date: 12 March 2018

Ahmed Atef Oussii and Neila Boulila Taktak

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether there is any relationship between the effectiveness of an audit committee and the financial reporting timeliness of…

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1834

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether there is any relationship between the effectiveness of an audit committee and the financial reporting timeliness of Tunisian listed companies as proxied by external audit delay (AD). Analysis focuses on five audit committee characteristics: authority, financial expertise, independence, size and diligence.

Design/methodology/approach

Empirical tests address 162 firm-year observations drawn from Tunisian listed companies during 2011-2013.

Findings

Multivariate analyses indicate that audit committees with members who have financial expertise are significantly associated with shorter AD. Thus, the results suggest that audit committee financial expertise contributes to the improvement of financial statements’ timeliness.

Research limitations/implications

The audit committee attributes examined in this study were based on DeZoort et al. (2002) framework. There could be other aspects of audit committee effectiveness such as audit committee tenure and audit committee chair characteristics, which were not addressed in the present study. Thus, future research may consider and examine these other components of audit committee effectiveness.

Practical implications

Findings have managerial implications. Companies can re-look into how to further improve audit committee composition in order to enhance the timeliness of financial reporting. The issues of audit committee effectiveness and timely reporting also affect regulators and policy makers since they need to play a role in the establishment of effective audit committees and the improvement of financial reporting timeliness.

Originality/value

This study is one of few that have examined the impact of audit committee effectiveness on ADs in an emerging market country. Findings lend credence to the belief that audit committee members’ financial expertise enhances the quality of financial reporting by firms in a North African market criticized for the lack of maturity of its corporate governance system (Klibi, 2015; Fitch Ratings, 2009).

Details

African Journal of Economic and Management Studies, vol. 9 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-0705

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