The purpose of this paper is to investigate the phenomenon of accounting in non‐governmental organisations (NGOs). It seeks to understand accounting processes and…
The purpose of this paper is to investigate the phenomenon of accounting in non‐governmental organisations (NGOs). It seeks to understand accounting processes and reporting practices in NGOs and the conditions that sustain those processes and practices. NGOs have become important institutions in world affairs but accounting research has not developed significant interest in their operations.
The research executes a grounded theory strategy as the principal methodology for the inquiry. Fieldwork was undertaken in three Tanzanian NGOs.
The research established the importance of accounting in the process of navigating organisational legitimacy. This was achieved due to its important role in symbolising organisational competence. Two principal strategies were employed by organisations in navigating legitimacy – building credibility and bargaining for change.
The paper makes a contribution to the limited empirical research into accounting in NGOs in developing countries and to grounded theory, accounting research. The principal finding, that in the NGOs studied the primary purpose of accounting was its symbolic use in navigating legitimacy and that it has a minimal role to play in internal decision making, is an important finding for practice as well as for understanding and knowledge. Finally, the paper sheds light on accountability in NGOs by narrating how the phenomenon is constructed and perceived by organisations and stakeholders. Future research should extend our understanding of these phenomena across a broader range of NGOs to incorporate differences in geographical location, religious affiliation and also include Northern donor organisations.
The purpose of this paper is to report findings of audit quality differences amongst audit firms in a developing country. Specifically, the authors examine the assumption…
The purpose of this paper is to report findings of audit quality differences amongst audit firms in a developing country. Specifically, the authors examine the assumption of marked audit quality differences amongst large audit firms (Big 4s) and the small and medium practices (SMPs).
First, the authors develop scales for assessing perceived audit quality in the financial services sector based on qualitative data obtained from 106 audit practitioners, 31 credit analysts and 13 board members. The authors use NVivo© to analyse the 13 transcribed interviews and follow “cross-case analysis” to visualize dimensions and scales of audit quality. Then the authors use measurement scales developed and obtain quantitative data from 183 board members and top executives in the financial services sector and test for perceived audit quality differences amongst audit firms using a Mann-Whitney U test.
The findings suggest that audit quality is a multi-dimensional construct comprising of levels of discretionary accruals; compliance of audited accounts to accounting standards, law and regulations; and audit fees. Based on these measures, the authors find that Big 4 audit firms ensure more compliance with accounting standards, law and other regulatory requirements than SMPs. However, taking all the three audit quality dimensions together reveals no significant differences in audit quality levels between Big 4 and SMPs.
In terms of auditor selection and retention, it is important that audit firms are assessed based on their ability to constrain discretionary accruals, to produce audited accounts that comply with requirements of accounting standards, the law and regulations; and to examine the fees they charge in relation to quality of service, than on their size. Also, as the results of this study suggest that Big 4 audit firms might be needed for compliance with accounting standards, law and other regulatory requirements, their audit ties in with the most basic level of auditing requiring probity and legality which, in practice, requires a low level of judgement to be exercised by those performing the audit. It might be useful for Big 4 and other audit firms to embark also on higher level of auditing requiring higher level of judgement. Future research may wish to examine auditing firms’ proclivity to higher level judgment audit.
Previous research reveals no consistent way of measuring audit quality and has been inconclusive on the subject of audit quality differential amongst audit firms. The authors create audit quality scales which can be used in assessing perceived audit quality in a developing country context and provide initial evidence of no significant differences between large audit firms and the SMPs regarding audit quality in Uganda.