The challenges of auditing environmental matters in financial reports

Chiang, CKH
Prescott, S
Northcott, D
Item type
Conference Contribution
Degree name
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
AUT University

This study investigated the challenges and issues auditors face when auditing material environmental matters relevant for financial reporting. This study adopted an interpretive methodology. Qualitative interviews with 18 New Zealand audit partners and managers from the North and South Islands provided the research findings. Legitimacy theory informed the interpretation of the research findings.

The research findings revealed that auditors could risk not considering environmental matters and environmental risks exposure in audit planning if disclosures are not made in the financial report or communicated to the auditor; also for new clients or clients not operating in obviously environmentally sensitive industries or sector. The auditors are further challenged by keeping up with the prolific environmental laws and regulations. AGS-1010 recommended that auditors apply the accounting standard for ‘Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets’, however, it is subjective and creates some confusion in its application. Generally, auditors do seek technical advice but there are few suitable qualified environmental experts in New Zealand to assist them.

The general implication is that the audit of significant environmental matters seems to extend the boundary of financial audits, reflecting perhaps unreasonable expectations of auditors’ knowledge of environmental issues and auditing environmental matters.

Financial auditing , Environmental matters
6th Asian Pacific Interdisciplinary Research in Accounting Conference, Sydney, 2010-07-11 - 2010-07-13
Rights statement
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in (see Citation). The original publication is available at (see Publisher's Version)