Perceptions of external auditors' independence: Some cross-cultural evidence

Chris Patel*, Jim Psaros

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of our paper is to contribute to the accounting education literature by demonstrating that there are significant differences among final year undergraduate accounting students in the United Kingdom, Australia, India, and Malaysia with respect to an important concept in auditing, namely, perceptions of external auditors' independence. To attain this objective, we make an original contribution to accounting cross-cultural studies by operationalizing culture in terms ofindependent and interdependent construals of selfhood. These fundamental core cultural differences are important because they play a major role in regulating psychological processes including perceptions. Additionally, to gain insight into the evolving complexities associated with understanding culture in a global economy, the concept of acculturation is invoked in hypothesis formulation. We find support for the hypothesis that students from countries with greater political, economic and socio-cultural interactions (UK and Australia) are likely to have greater similarities (i.e., lesser variations) in their perceptions of external auditors' independence, compared to students from countries that have less acculturation (other pairs of countries). The results have implications for improving learning and teaching of auditing in the four countries. Specifically, accounting educators may like to ensure that the meaning intended in the various national and international auditing pronouncements with respect to external auditors' independence is effectively communicated to students within specific national cultural contexts. Our findings may also be useful to various international bodies whose objectives are to harmonize auditor education. The results also suggest that there is a need to critically question the assumptions made by professional accounting firms operating cross-nationally that it is possible to attain a single global set of audit procedures and codes of professional conduct.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-338
Number of pages28
JournalBritish Accounting Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2000


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