Title: Iron cage theory and practice: evolution of French statutory auditing into specific accountability

Authors: Jean-Guy Degos; Marie-Pierre Mairesse

Addresses: IRGO Research Centre, University of Bordeaux, 35, avenue Abadie, 33072 Bordeaux, France ' IDP Pool of Finance, University of Valenciennes, Campus Mont Houy 59319, Valenciennes cedex 9, France

Abstract: Accountability is the obligation to perform a task according to current regulations and to subsequently report on the execution of said task to a principal. Today, after the enactment of several laws such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the USA and Financial Security Act in France, and the more rigorous management of a large number of audit firms, trust in the financial and accounting information does not yet seem to have been restored and the expectation gap remains. Accountability is not just related to the exercise of responsibility; it also plays a social role in a globalised economy. The purpose of this article is to show how the statutory audit mission has evolved over time and how this has influenced the context and conditions of accountability, how lawmakers created the task of controlling, and which today has become a broader mission involving economic and financial consulting, for market operators and business partners.

Keywords: accountability report; audit engagement; assertion-based engagement; statutory auditing; public accounting; agency theory; France.

DOI: 10.1504/IJCA.2014.067285

International Journal of Critical Accounting, 2014 Vol.6 No.4, pp.329 - 344

Published online: 14 Feb 2015 *

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