Detecting financial reporting fraud: the impact and implications of management motivations for external auditors - evidence from the Egyptian context
2016-09-20T15:09:36Z (GMT) by
Financial reporting fraud is a concern for investors, regulators, external auditors, and the public. Although the responsibility for fraud detection lies upon management and those charged with governance, external auditors are likely to come under scrutiny if fraud scandals come to light. Despite the audit regulators efforts in fighting fraud, evidence from prior literature revealed that external auditors still need guidance in assessing and responding to fraud risks. Hence the current study aims at helping external auditors properly assess and respond to the risk of financial reporting fraud in an effort to increase the likelihood of detecting it. In order to achieve this, the current study sought to explore the significance of various fraud factors in assessing the risks of financial reporting fraud and examined how external auditors could assess these fraud factors. The current study also explored the likely motivations behind management fraud, the impact of management motivations on the financial statements, and how external auditors could assess the impact of management motivations. The data for the current study was collected from external auditors working at various audit firms in Egypt via the use of mixed research methods, namely through an online questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. The findings of the current study revealed that management motives are the most significant factor in assessing the risk of financial reporting fraud. Hence the current study suggests that external audit should be viewed in terms of management motivations rather than just the audit of financial statements figures and disclosures. The current study offers detailed guidance to external auditors in this area. The findings of the current study also revealed that management integrity is a significant factor in assessing the risk of financial reporting fraud and that rationalisation of fraud should be assessed as part of management integrity rather than a separate fraud risk factor. The current study found that fraud perpetrators capabilities are equally significant to the opportunity to commit fraud factor yet it is currently ignored by the audit standards and thus should be assessed as part of opportunity to commit fraud. The current study was the first to explore financial reporting fraud and the extent by which external auditors comply with ISA 240 in the Egyptian context. The current study offered recommendations to external auditors, audit firms, audit regulators, and the Egyptian government on how to combat financial reporting fraud. Potential areas for future research were also identified by the current study.