Financial scandals worldwide have led to an auditing profession crisis. Society has lost confidence in the profession because of a growing perception that it does not act in the public interest, but in its own interest only. The way in which the auditing profession is regulated may impact positively or negatively on the value of the audit function. Consequently there is danger that the profession may lose its very reason for existence. Conversely, the profession has an opportunity to re-invent itself, and by so doing, regain the trust of society. The South African auditing profession, as elsewhere, has begun to recognise this situation as an opportunity to introduce changes to the regulation of the profession. These regulations are the key to society’s willingness to trust the outcome of the audit process. While the current regulations are obviously flawed, it is believed that, once revised, society may regain confidence and trust in the profession and its services. To this end the Draft Auditing Profession Bill, 2004 was published in November 2004. In this thesis the profession’s regulations, including the Draft Auditing Profession Bill, 2004, are evaluated in terms of factors that are central to an effective and credible regulatory system. The burning issues involving the auditing profession are also identified in this study, and evaluated. In comparison with changes already made in other countries, it appears that those important regulatory system factors and the key public interest issues of credibility and trust are inadequately addressed by the proposed auditing profession regulations. The fundamental reasons for this failure are the proposed composition and financing of the regulator and associated bodies. Hence, in this study a normative framework for regulating the auditing profession in South Africa is proposed in an effort to regain society’s trust.
Thesis (DCom (Accounting Sciences))--University of Pretoria, 2007.