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Journal Articles Accounting History Year : 2017

Developments in France regarding mandatory rotation of auditors: do they enhance the auditors’ independence?

Christine Fournès

Abstract

Mandatory rotation of auditors or of audit firms has been the subject of extensive debate among academics, professionals, and regulators, especially since the financial crisis of the 2000s. Does rotation enhance auditors’ independence and audit quality? The research evidence on the impact of mandatory audit firm rotation on audit quality and auditor independence is inconclusive. This article offers a historical approach to understanding the implementation of mandatory rotation, based on the French case. The auditing profession in France is strongly regulated, with four main provisions designed to reinforce auditors’ independence: prohibitions on a priori and a posteriori incompatibilities, a 6-year audit tenure, a ban on non-audit services, and the use of joint audit. The rotation of auditors was merely an additional and non-compulsory tool. However, in 2014, the European Commission decided to implement the mandatory rotation of audit firms despite the opposition of the French accounting profession and regulators. Does this suggest that the French model was ineffective? It probably does not. In this specific context of France, a mandatory rotation of audit firms would seem unlikely to enhance audit quality.
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hal-01885644 , version 1 (02-10-2018)

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Christine Fournès. Developments in France regarding mandatory rotation of auditors: do they enhance the auditors’ independence?. Accounting History, 2017, 22 (1), pp.44-66. ⟨10.1177/1032373216674968⟩. ⟨hal-01885644⟩
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