The auditor’s role in combating money laundering : An attitude survey among Swedish auditors

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen; Uppsala universitet/Företagsekonomiska institutionen


Background: As a tactic of combating money laundering, auditors have been introduced asguardians and enforcers of the laws, due to their insight into company affairs. However, as shownby the Finance Police, it is rare that auditors report suspicions on money-laundering activities.That is, despite the obligations imposed on the profession, their share of total number or reportfiles each year a very small fraction.

Aim: When investigating the infrequent reporting by auditors, it all boils down to a seemingexpectation gap. As such, the aim of this study has been to test that hypothesis, by conducting anattitude survey among Swedish auditors, as we believe the attitude towards the obligations tohave an impact on the tendency to report.

Method: The perception of auditors on their role in combating money laundering and thehypothesized expectation gap between the audit profession and the state in its legislative capacitywas explore through the use of a questionnaire sent to 68 authorized or approved auditors withinthree different categories of firms; big-four firms, second tier firms and small local firms inStockholm and Uppsala.

Conclusion: We cannot with certainty draw conclusion on whether the auditors’ perceivethemselves as having an obvious preventive role in the fight money laundering due to ambiguousanswers, but there seem to exist a somewhat opposed attitude toward the suggested duty to detectmoney laundering during audits. Nevertheless, traces of an expectation gap were found in thisstudy. However, with a sample size of 20 respondents, we cannot make generalizations withoutcareful consideration. As such, the findings of this study should be regarded as indicative ratherthan definitive.

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