Informations and abstract
The article analyzes two important problems in the audit system: the first is related to the object of the auditors activity and characterized by radical uncertainty; the second concerns the relationship between auditor and corporate client. Through a multilevel framework of analysis the article identifies the micro, meso, and macro level factors that are responsible for voluntary as well as unintentional errors in the auditing process (i.e., auditors' biased assessments, the blurring of boundaries between auditing and consultancy services, and lobbing-activities oriented at blocking institutional reforms). Moreover, the article highlights the interdependences between levels, coming to the conclusion that a proper analysis of failures in the audit system cannot limit itself to assess individual auditors' inability or corruption, but needs to take into account organizational and institutional factors as well. Finally, the research argues that the reforms subsequent to the Enron scandal did not solve the conflict of interest between auditors and their corporate clients and did not reduce the problems of transparency and independency, as the recent financial crisis has shown.