Environmental matters in financial reports: current audit approach change?
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Purpose – This paper examined how New Zealand auditors could be motivated to step up current practice and prioritise the consideration of environmental matters in the audit of financial reports. Institutional Theory is the relevant theory for framing the research. Design/methodology/approach – This research is qualitative. Twenty-seven New Zealand auditors were interviewed using semi-structured questions covering the research topic. Findings – The interview evidence indicate that a legislated mandate enforced by the New Zealand Government is the most powerful driver of change to current audit practice. All other drivers and strategies for further advancing current practice identified by the interviewees would easily follow on from the legislative mandate. Practical implications – Understanding what the potential drivers and strategies for further development in financial auditors’ current practices would (1) assist in aligning financial audit practices with current audit practices of public sector auditors; (2) assist the audit profession and financial auditors to benchmark improvements to current audit. If the changes are implemented, then the New Zealand auditing profession would be meeting overseas expectations for auditors’ role in environmental risk assessment and management in corporate governance. Originality/value – This research will contribute (1) generally to qualitative research in audit practice; (2) specifically to the extant literature and will also add a geographical variation to existing literature, making a timely contribution to the international literature on audit practice at both theoretical and professional practice levels.