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Efficiency, economy and effectiveness – but what about ethics? The limits of state audit

Bringselius, Louise LU (2012) EIASM, 2012 p.1-13
Abstract
While the expansion of audit has attracted considerable attention, less interest has been taken in what falls outside of the auditing practice - and why. This paper is focused on the portfolio of the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs), in their performance audit practice. It maintains that an ethical dimension is missing in this portfolio, as compared to models from the literature on Organisational Responsibility. The Swedish National Audit Office (SNAO) is raised as an example, where the Constitution can be read as assuming that state audit also should include an ethical dimension. Explanations for the lack of a fourth E for ethics (in addition to the traditional ‘three Es’: Economy, efficiency and effectiveness) are discussed at the SNAO.... (More)
While the expansion of audit has attracted considerable attention, less interest has been taken in what falls outside of the auditing practice - and why. This paper is focused on the portfolio of the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs), in their performance audit practice. It maintains that an ethical dimension is missing in this portfolio, as compared to models from the literature on Organisational Responsibility. The Swedish National Audit Office (SNAO) is raised as an example, where the Constitution can be read as assuming that state audit also should include an ethical dimension. Explanations for the lack of a fourth E for ethics (in addition to the traditional ‘three Es’: Economy, efficiency and effectiveness) are discussed at the SNAO. It is maintained that, because ethical audit is difficult to pursue with the same objectivity claim as traditional audit, this may challenge the professional practice of performance audit and thereby also the position of both the SAI and its performance auditors. Incentives to take this risk are not very high. Yet, this fourth E may be what is required to regain the legitimacy lost in audit, after recurring audit scandals. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to conference
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Supreme audit institutions, performance audit, state audit, ethical audit, organizational responsibility
pages
13 pages
conference name
EIASM, 2012
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
c7efb21b-d4e3-488d-a575-04dd8139ad0e (old id 2966387)
date added to LUP
2012-08-06 10:36:25
date last changed
2016-11-28 13:04:00
@misc{c7efb21b-d4e3-488d-a575-04dd8139ad0e,
  abstract     = {While the expansion of audit has attracted considerable attention, less interest has been taken in what falls outside of the auditing practice - and why. This paper is focused on the portfolio of the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs), in their performance audit practice. It maintains that an ethical dimension is missing in this portfolio, as compared to models from the literature on Organisational Responsibility. The Swedish National Audit Office (SNAO) is raised as an example, where the Constitution can be read as assuming that state audit also should include an ethical dimension. Explanations for the lack of a fourth E for ethics (in addition to the traditional ‘three Es’: Economy, efficiency and effectiveness) are discussed at the SNAO. It is maintained that, because ethical audit is difficult to pursue with the same objectivity claim as traditional audit, this may challenge the professional practice of performance audit and thereby also the position of both the SAI and its performance auditors. Incentives to take this risk are not very high. Yet, this fourth E may be what is required to regain the legitimacy lost in audit, after recurring audit scandals.},
  author       = {Bringselius, Louise},
  keyword      = {Supreme audit institutions,performance audit,state audit,ethical audit,organizational responsibility},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {1--13},
  title        = {Efficiency, economy and effectiveness – but what about ethics? The limits of state audit},
  year         = {2012},
}