An investigation of Audit Expectation Gap in the Public Sector in Sub-Saharan Africa : the Case of The Gambia
Abstract: The aspect of the audit expectation gap continues to be an issue and detrimental to the auditing profession especially as auditors and the public continues to hold different beliefs about the auditors’ duties and responsibilities, and the messages conveyed by audit reports. This phenomenon has long been investigated in several Western and Asian countries with numerous studies that empirically confirmed the existence of this phenomenon between auditors and non-auditors (audit stakeholders). However, it appears paradoxical that only few studies have been conducted empirically in establishing the existence of this gap, in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the public sector. Meaning, there is a dearth of research regarding an AEG in the public sector. Besides, regarding The Gambia, it appears that no study has ever been conducted to establish the existence of an AEG. Hence, this thesis aims to investigate the existence of AEG in The Gambia public sector from the viewpoints of public auditors and non-auditing professionals to establish the existence and nature of the audit expectations gap and how this phenomenon can be bridged to uphold the credibility of the auditing profession. A purposive sampling was used to select 13 participants with a structured interview data collection approach. The results of the study shows that the non-auditing professionals perceived ‘detection and prevention of fraud and corruption’, and ‘assurance on the effectiveness of internal controls’ to include auditors’ roles and responsibilities, and faithfully expect them to perform these tasks; and also associate absolute assurance to audit opinions, thus resulting in naive or an unreasonable expectations gap.
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