Public oversight systems for statutory auditors in the European Union Articles uri icon

publication date

  • December 2017

start page

  • 517

end page

  • 552

issue

  • 3

volume

  • 44

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0929-1261

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1572-9990

abstract

  • Abstract: We provide a comparative overview of the process of implementation, harmonization and stabilization of public oversight systems for statutory auditors across the European Union (EU) after Directive 2006/43/EC. We build on institutional change theory to identify potential determinants as to why some countries still lag in this harmonization process. Oversight systems are a key institutional factor to guarantee the quality of financial information, essential to maintain investors' confidence and deep and stable capital markets. Thus, the harmonization of these systems has long been an objective of the EU. Our analyses serve to identify, analyse and compare how EU countries have incorporated European-wide requirements into their national legal systems. Particularly, we study: (1) basic characteristics of the system and bodies for public oversight, (2) organizational structure, (3) financing (4) transparency, (5) supervisory, and (6) disciplinary mechanisms. We show that significant diversity still exists across systems and that both the incentives for institutional change and the distance between pre-existing systems and the Directive are important explanatory factors of the achieved level of harmonization.