The audit expectations gap: the role of auditing education
Pierce, Bernard and Kilcommins, Mary (1996) The audit expectations gap: the role of auditing education. DCU Business School Reserach Paper Series. (Paper No. 13). Dublin City University Business School, Ireland. ISSN: 1393-290X
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There is now considerable evidence of a gap when external auditors’ understanding of their role and duties is compared against the expectations of various user groups
and the general public regarding the process and outcome of the external audit, i.e., an audit expectations gap. Conflicting views have been expressed regarding the role
of auditing education in narrowing this gap. This study was carried out to investigate whether there is evidence that the provision of auditing courses as part of third level business degree programmes contributes to a narrowing of that part of the audit expectations gap which results from a misunderstanding of audit regulations. The
study was therefore not concerned with issues relating to the setting or content of audit regulations, but with the communication and understanding of regulations.
A survey questionnaire was completed by five different groups of students at the start of the academic year and by the same five groups again towards the end of the year (n = 818). Each of the groups had studied either a full course in auditing, a module of auditing, or no auditing at all during the period. The results from the study
indicated a significant reduction (at the .05 level) in all elements of the misunderstanding gap for those groups who had studied either a module or a course in auditing during the period but not for any of the other groups. Additional analyses were conducted to investigate specific elements of the misunderstanding gap. Implications for the profession, educational institutions and future research are discussed.
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