Search results

1 – 10 of 20
Click here to view access options
Article
Publication date: 1 September 2003

Vivien Beattie, Alan Goodacre and Stella Fearnley

While concentration measures are a good indicator of market structure, the link with competitivenessis more complex than often assumed. In particular, the modern theory of…

Downloads
2002

Abstract

While concentration measures are a good indicator of market structure, the link with competitiveness is more complex than often assumed. In particular, the modern theory of industrial organisation makes no clear statement regarding the impact of concentration on competition ‐ the focus of this paper is concentration and no inferences are made about competitive aspects of the market. The extent and nature of concentration within the UK listed company audit market as at April, 2002 and, pro forma, after the collapse of Andersen is documented and analysed in detail (by firm, market segment and industry sector). The largest four firms held 90 per cent of the market (based on audit fees) in 2002, rising to 96 per cent with the demise of Andersen. A single firm, Pricewaterhouse‐Coopers, held 70 per cent or more of the share of six out of 38 industry sectors, with a share of 50 per cent up to 70 per cent in a further seven sectors. The provision of non‐audit services (NAS) by incumbent auditors is also considered. As at April 2002, the average ratio of non‐audit fees (paid to auditor) to audit fees was 208 per cent, and exceeded 300 per cent in seven sectors. It is likely, however, that disposals by firms of their management consultancy and outsource firms, combined with the impact of the Smith Report on audit committees will serve to reduce these ratios. Another finding is that audit firms with expertise in a particular sector appeared to earn significantly higher nonaudit fees from their audit clients in that sector. The paper thus provides a solid empirical basis for debate. The subsequent discussion considers the implications for companies and audit firms of the high level of concentration in the current regulatory climate, where no direct regulatory intervention is planned.

Details

Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, vol. 11 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1358-1988

Keywords

Click here to view access options
Article
Publication date: 1 September 2002

SteIIa Fearnley, Richard Brandt and Vivien Beattie

On 16th April, 2002, the authors gave oral evidence to the House of Commons Treasury Committee Inquiry into Financial Regulation of Public Limited Companies which was set…

Downloads
1435

Abstract

On 16th April, 2002, the authors gave oral evidence to the House of Commons Treasury Committee Inquiry into Financial Regulation of Public Limited Companies which was set up following the collapse of Enron. This paper is adapted from the written submission to the Committee on which their oral evidence was based. The authors argue that the Enron collapse provides an opportunity for regulators to stand back and consider fundamental issues associated with the regulatory framework for financial reporting, auditing and corporate governance in the UK. They challenge the financial reporting framework as being muddled between the concepts of stewardship and decision usefulness. Company balance sheets are an amalgam of figures based on historical cost and accounting estimates. The increasing use of financial instruments and the inclusion of intangibles makes valuations complex and judgmental and therefore much more dfficult to audit. Incentives in the capital markets which drive the behaviour of all participants should be considered to ensure that the current system does not encourage dysfunctional outcomes and excessive rewards. The personal incentives for partners in audit firms are of particular interest as a potential key influence on auditor independence. It is suggested that non‐executive directors should be mandated to protect the interests of investors. The authors counsel against kneejerk reactions to the Enron collapse as a number of changes such as the transfer of regulation of securities listing to the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the establishment of the Accountancy Foundation need time to settle down. They believe that auditor rotation will introduce costs without clearly identifiable benefits and are opposed to wholesale banning of auditors providing non‐audit services to their clients.

Details

Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1358-1988

Keywords

Click here to view access options
Article
Publication date: 1 January 1999

Vivien Beattie, Richard Brandt and Stella Fearnley

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued a consultation document in November 1998, which set out a framework for the independent regulation of the accountancy…

Abstract

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) issued a consultation document in November 1998, which set out a framework for the independent regulation of the accountancy profession. This framework broadly adopts the proposals put forward by the profession itself. In this paper, the focus is on audit regulation. The current regime is outlined and its structural weaknesses and procedural problems identified. The proposed reforms are described and critically evaluated. It is argued that the proposed reforms offer only a partial solution to regulatory concerns, since no changes are proposed to the existing regime either for registration, or for monitoring and discipline of the majority of audit cases. An expanded framework that rationalises current practices and provides a more comprehensive solution is suggested. A critical feature of the proposal is that a distinction is made between audits of small entities and audits of major listed companies, only the latter of which are of public interest. Each would have distinct licensing and monitoring procedures.

Details

Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, vol. 7 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1358-1988

Click here to view access options
Article
Publication date: 1 February 1998

Vivien Beattie, Richard Brandt and Stella Fearnley

The audit function is an essential part of the regulatory structure which supports the integrity of our capital markets. There is a recognised expectations gap which…

Downloads
1087

Abstract

The audit function is an essential part of the regulatory structure which supports the integrity of our capital markets. There is a recognised expectations gap which surrounds the audit function, as many users of audited financial statements have different expectations of the audit function from what it delivers. Perceptions of auditor independence are a fundamental part of this expectations gap. In the light of recent significant changes to the regulatory framework, this paper reports a survey of leading financial journalists, to ascertain their current views on auditor independence. Findings show a belief that some of the changes have reduced the expectations gap although problems still exist in the area of non‐audit services. However, the most significant threat to independence is seen to be the economic and personal pressure on the partner as an individual, an area difficult to regulate. The challenge for audit firms is to demonstrate how well they control for this within their management structures.

Details

Journal of Financial Regulation and Compliance, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1358-1988

Click here to view access options
Article
Publication date: 1 October 2002

Vivien Beattie and Michael John Jones

Graphs in corporate annual reports are a double‐edged sword. While they offer the potential for improved communication of accounting information to users, the preparers of…

Downloads
5007

Abstract

Graphs in corporate annual reports are a double‐edged sword. While they offer the potential for improved communication of accounting information to users, the preparers of the annual reports can easily manipulate the graphs for their own interests. For over a decade, the empirical financial graphics literature has focused on examining company reporting practices. A particular concern has been measurement distortion, which violates a fundamental principle of graph construction. Unfortunately, it is not yet known whether observed levels of measurement distortion are likely to affect users’ perceptions of financial performance. This study uses an experimental approach to address this issue. Pairs of graphs are shown to establish the level of difference that is just noticeable to graph readers. Six levels of “distortion” are investigated (5 per cent, 10 per cent, 20 per cent, 30 per cent, 40 per cent and 50 per cent). Results indicate that if financial graphs are to avoid distorting the perceptions of users, then no measurement distortions in excess of 10 per cent should be allowed. Users with lower levels of financial understanding appear to be most at risk of being misled by distorted graphs. Further research will be necessary to investigate whether this impact upon perceptions subsequently affects users’ decisions in specific contexts.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 15 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Click here to view access options
Article
Publication date: 9 April 2018

Brian A. Rutherford

This paper aims to analyse the nature and extent of convergence within the literature of the narrative turn in narrative accounting research.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyse the nature and extent of convergence within the literature of the narrative turn in narrative accounting research.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper offers an actor–network–theoretic perspective drawing on Latour’s theory of citation and Shwed and Bearman’s development of that theory to analyse patterns of convergence.

Findings

The paper finds that across the exemplars of narrative turn research examined, there is only a limited level of epistemic engagement so that exemplars achieve their status without undergoing trials of strength.

Research limitations/implications

The paper argues that the resources of the relevant academic community are spread so thinly that each seam – each research question, methodology or method and research context – is mined by no more than a small handful of researchers unable to generate a meaningful volume of contestation. Steps are suggested to better focus research activity.

Originality/value

The use of Latour’s theory of citation to analyse patterns of convergence in accounting research is innovative. The paper proposes a substantial change in the community’s approach to narrative turn research on accounting narratives.

Details

Meditari Accountancy Research, vol. 26 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2049-372X

Keywords

Click here to view access options
Article
Publication date: 1 March 1998

Vivien Beattie and Stella Fearnley

Competitive pressures in the audit market have led to aggressive fee renegotiation and tendering by companies. This paper reviews microeconomic tender theory and finds it…

Downloads
4334

Abstract

Competitive pressures in the audit market have led to aggressive fee renegotiation and tendering by companies. This paper reviews microeconomic tender theory and finds it to be of limited value in the audit context. Content analysis of semi‐structured interviews conducted with the finance directors of 12 UK listed companies which had recently tendered and/or changed auditor are used to investigate the tender/change process. Contrary to popular belief, fee levels do not necessarily dominate the decision to change auditors, rather changes within the client company, audit staffing, and auditor’s professionalism and competency issues dominate. Nor is the selection of a tender “winner” generally based solely on price, as predicted by tender theory and as would be expected when the consequences of audit failure do not fall on the directors. However, consistent with economic theory, the winning bid appears frequently to be too low, resulting in attempts by auditors to subsequently increase fees and resentment by the finance director. Directors generally appear to view the audit tender as relating to not only the attest function per se, but to a larger package of services concerning the financial reporting function. The relative importance of price versus non‐price competition in auditor choice is found to vary across companies. Auditor choice is influenced strongly by both economic and behavioural factors, in particular, by directors’ assessment of the quality of non‐attest services and the expected quality of working relationships, in addition to price and audit quality.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Click here to view access options
Article
Publication date: 2 November 2010

Vivien Beattie and Sarah Jane Smith

The purpose of this paper is to explore, empirically, the contribution of human capital (HC) to value creation and the external disclosure of HC. The specific aims are to…

Downloads
4225

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore, empirically, the contribution of human capital (HC) to value creation and the external disclosure of HC. The specific aims are to: investigate the relative contribution of HC to the generation of firm value; compare the differences in the perceptions of human resource (HR) directors and finance directors (FDs) in relation to this contribution; examine the relationship between the internal collation and external disclosure of HC information; investigate incentives and disincentives to the external disclosure of HC information; and investigate the most appropriate medium to externally disclose HC information.

Design/methodology/approach

A questionnaire survey of (HR) directors of UK listed companies was conducted. Responses are compared to those from FDs obtained from a previous survey on the broader concept of intellectual capital disclosure. In total, 13 follow‐up interviews were conducted. The matched views of the (HR) specialist and the FD are compared for eight case companies.

Findings

Employee skills and education, employee commitment, positive employee attitudes and behaviour, and employee motivation are considered to contribute to value creation the most. Information on employee turnover, employee training and development, and workplace safety is frequently collated. There also appears to be attempts to capture information on aspects such as employee satisfaction, motivation, and commitment. Marked differences exist between the extent to which information is internally collated and externally disclosed. External disclosure appears to be a valuable recruitment tool. However, giving away information which may harm competitive advantage is a serious concern. The annual report was considered the most effective written form of communication for disclosing HC externally. Despite some disparity in views, there is evidence to suggest recognition by FDs of the value of human capital and commitment to its external disclosure. Contrary to prior research, evidence from the small matched sample indicates no significant difference in views between the two functional specialists regarding the importance to value creation of four key HC components.

Research limitations/implications

A comparison across the full range of HC issues is not possible as the FD IC survey was unable to address HC in as much detail as the HC survey.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the understanding of HC and its disclosure by comprehensively investigating such issues for a large sample of UK companies.

Details

Journal of Human Resource Costing & Accounting, vol. 14 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1401-338X

Keywords

Click here to view access options
Article
Publication date: 18 May 2015

Niklas Kreander, Ken McPhail and Vivien Beattie

The purpose of this paper is to explore whether, how and why ethical investment practices of charities differ between two countries with quite different ideological and…

Downloads
1527

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore whether, how and why ethical investment practices of charities differ between two countries with quite different ideological and institutional frameworks – Norway and the UK.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses mixed methods and a cross-sectional field study design to explore the ethical investment practices of 300 of the largest charities by investments in the UK and Norway. Practices are theorized using the dual lens of institutional theory and social origins theory.

Findings

The paper provides evidence on why charities established the practice of ethical investment. The results show that large charities were more likely to have an ethical policy; that charities with moderate public sector funding were more likely to have an ethical policy. In line with institutional theory some Norwegian charities with public sector funding mimic the policy of the Government Pension Fund, and the ethical investment policy of Norwegian charities was more influenced by donors. Institutional entrepreneurs (charity founders) had a more prominent influence in UK charities.

Research limitations/implications

The paper highlights that more research is needed on sovereign wealth funds, their investment practices and how they affect charities.

Practical implications

The findings of this paper highlight the potential role that the ethical investment practices of sovereign can play a soft regulatory function in changing the behaviour of other investors.

Social implications

To the extent that ethical investment practices are construed as having a positive social impact, then this study shows how a government sovereign wealth fund can influence the spread of ethical investment practices.

Originality/value

This paper, which sits at the nexus of the charity and corporate social responsibility (CSR) literatures, contributes by responding to calls for more research on charity practices in different countries and CSR practices in different countries. This comparison also contributes to the development of institutional theory by shedding light on the institutional influence of a sovereign wealth fund and its impact on others. The paper will be of value to academics, policy setters and regulators.

Details

Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, vol. 28 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3574

Keywords

Click here to view access options
Article
Publication date: 14 September 2015

Petros Vourvachis and Thérèse Woodward

The purpose of this paper is to review the use of content analysis in social and environmental reporting (SER) research. It explores how the relevant literature has…

Downloads
2429

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the use of content analysis in social and environmental reporting (SER) research. It explores how the relevant literature has evolved over time and particularly how recent developments have affected the validity and reliability challenges that researchers face when executing the method.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper combines a quasi-systematic review of the literature employing content analysis (examining a sample of 251 studies published over the last 40 years in a wide array of journals with interest in the field), with a largely interpretive meta-analysis, using an index, considering the research questions asked and frameworks used as well as the specific content analysis decisions.

Findings

A number of issues of concern in the use of the method are identified, mainly over comparability and reliability of coding schemes. Potential explanations are developed and methodological refinements that could enhance the usefulness of content analysis methods in SER research are subsequently proposed.

Research limitations/implications

It should be acknowledged that, as 251 SER studies have been reviewed, there is always the possibility that some unique studies that could have contributed in the discussion have been ignored.

Practical implications

By reviewing the use of the method in a comprehensive sample of 251 SER studies published over the last 40 years in a wide array of journals with interest in the field, the paper also offers a guide for researchers (particularly in the SER field) wishing to employ content analysis in the future.

Originality/value

The paper contributes to the literature by offering a critical and comprehensive review of the method’s theoretical underpinnings and application in SER research, and by describing changing patterns in content analysis, in order to help build a more secure foundation for future work.

Details

Journal of Applied Accounting Research, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-5426

Keywords

1 – 10 of 20