Auditor Perceptions Of SAS 99: Do Two Expectation Gaps Still Exist?

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Linda B. Specht
Petrea Sandlin

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Abstract

In 1988, the Auditing Standards Board released nine standards intended to narrow the previously identified “expectation gap”—a gap between the expectations of financial statement users and certified public accountants (“Expectation Gap I”).  A 1992 study of auditor perceptions of two of those standards dealing with errors, irregularities, and illegal acts of clients, revealed that there existed a second expectation gap, one between the standard setters and practicing CPAs (“Expectation Gap II”). Since then, the ASB has released two successor statements intended to address the issue of auditors’ responsibility to consider fraud in a financial statement audit.  This study examines auditor perceptions of the more recent pronouncement and reveals general skepticism among respondents regarding its effectiveness in promoting Congressional and public confidence in the auditing profession; i.e., little confidence that it will serve to reduce Expectation Gap I.  It also reveals the continued existence of Expectation Gap II.  

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