Annexing new audit spaces: challenges and adaptations

Paul Andon, Clinton Free, Brendan O'Dwyer

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Purpose: This paper examines attempts at jurisdictional expansion in the audit field. Specifically, we critically analyse the professional implications of ‘new audit spaces’, that is, novel auditing and assurance services that have emerged at intersections between audit and other fields such as the environment, the public sector, sport and education. The purpose is two-fold. First, to better understand the dynamics of new audit spaces, and second, to highlight the major challenges and adaptations prompted by these areas.
Design/methodology/approach: Drawing on Bourdieu’s theory of practice, we highlight and problematise four issues central to the construction of new audit spaces: (1) independence; (2) reporting; (3) professional accreditation; and (4) the nature of the audit role.
Findings: The audit profession has experienced mixed success in seeking to annex new audit spaces; in some instances, practices initially located at the margins of auditing have moved towards its centre, while elsewhere projects have been abandoned, colonised by others or remain in flux. In these ventures, the accounting profession is brought into competition with other bodies of expertise and modes of practice. In new audit spaces, core elements of auditing, as conventionally conceived, are transmogrified as they travel.
Originality/value: This analysis calls into question some of the ‘sacred cows’ of auditing and challenges the transferability of the capitals and habitus of the accounting profession in other domains. Future research avenues are suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1400-1430
Number of pages31
JournalAccounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2015


  • New audit spaces; Independence; Audit report; Accreditation; Bourdieu; Accounting profession

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