The Continuity of the Board of Statutory Auditors Across Social, Economic And Political Institutional Changes

Michael J Jones, Andrea Melis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

This study examines how and why the board of statutory auditors, an important accounting institution, has continued to operate from its establishment in 1882 until today, with little change in its nature and role. This is despite the fundamental changes that have occurred in the Italian social, economic and political environment. This study reveals that even though Italy’s societal institutions have substantially changed, the board of statutory auditors has continued to exist with no real change in its essence. This long-lived accounting institution has continued to operate, with no material change in its nature, across different historical blocs, such as monarchy, fascism, post-war socio-democratic republic, neoliberal republic, and major changes in Italian politics and economy. This accounting institution has also faced a series of potentially significant sources of change, which appeared dramatic at first sight, but had no significant far-reaching historical impact, as hegemony was unaffected. In Italian society, the board of statutory auditors has provided a reassurance role, in principle this is to monitor company directors, a role which is perceived to benefit all society. However, in practice, this institution has provided a legitimating, rather than a substantive monitoring mechanism. It helped to exercise a hegemonic control for the ruling class, whose power was diffused across society through civil institutions during various historical blocs.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages32
JournalEuropean Accounting Review
Early online date20 May 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 May 2020

Structured keywords

  • AF Accountability Sustainability and Governance
  • AF Financial Reporting

Keywords

  • Accounting history
  • Board of statutory auditors
  • Hegemony
  • Italy

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