The influence of auditors’ professionalism on ethical judgementDifferences among practitioners and postgraduate students

  1. Itsaso Barrainkua 1
  2. Marcela Espinosa-Pike 1
  1. 1 Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea

    Universidad del País Vasco/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea

    Lejona, España


Revista de contabilidad = Spanish accounting review: [RC-SAR]

ISSN: 1138-4891

Year of publication: 2018

Volume: 21

Issue: 2

Pages: 176-187

Type: Article

DOI: 10.1016/J.RCSAR.2017.07.001 DIALNET GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openDialnet editor

More publications in: Revista de contabilidad = Spanish accounting review: [RC-SAR]


Antecedents Auditors’ professionalism has been criticized in recent years. Literature suggests that professionalism is decreasing due to the current audit market and the predominance of commercial goals. Objectives The main objective of this paper is to analyze auditors’ commitment to professionalism through two key professional values: public interest and independence enforcement. In addition, this study analyzes whether postgraduate students’ professional values differ from those of experienced auditors, and among auditors at different career stages. It also studies the influence of public interest commitment and independence enforcement on auditors’ ethical judgement. Methodology The research methodology comprised a survey that was distributed among auditors as well as among students enrolled in a postgraduate degree in auditing. 122 responses from Spanish auditors and 55 responses from students in a postgraduate auditing course were obtained. In order to test the hypothesis, ANOVA tests and a multiple regression analysis were conducted. Results The results of this paper reveal that students’ commitment to the public interest and independence enforcement was significantly higher than that of auditors, and that these professional values lowered as auditors gain experience. However, the findings also show that the auditors possess higher ethical judgement than students do. Further, the results reveal that these two values are predecessor of ethical judgement. Conclusion This study has practical implications for the improvement of ethical decision-making in auditing, as these results can assist with the proposal of measures that could apply to the education, recruitment, and professional development of auditors.

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