Jean Nollet

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


An audit is the process used by independent professional accountants to gather evidence to express an opinion on the financial statements of an entity, usually a company. Even though audits are customarily done for shareholders, they are often conducted for third parties such as lenders and potential investors. Companies that require audited financial statements need annually to purchase audit services.;A substantial amount of research has focused on the way auditors perform their tasks but this thesis focuses on the way clients manage the audit process. The audit process consists of work which is done by the auditors, the client and work that could be performed by either party. It is this last category which is identified in this thesis as the "tradeoff zone". Within this tradeoff zone the thesis identifies and labels three types of client strategies: "major buyers", "in-transit" and "major doers". Data was gathered using a combination of in-depth interviews and questionnaires. One chartered accountancy firm and 15 of its clients were used as a sample. Clients were small and medium-sized, non-listed organizations which were privately owned and Canadian controlled.;The data indicates that in recent years, particularly, the desire to control audit fees has been a major determinant of the client's choice of strategy. It was found that clients in the same category tended to prepare the same type of schedules. Audit strategies were used more deliberately by major doers than by the other two categories. Major doers also tended to be companies of larger size. Other major factors which affected the strategy used by a client were the controller's knowledge in accounting and auditing, and the president's and the controller's attitude towards the audit process.;The data suggests that clients in each of the strategic categories can improve their management of the audit process. These improvements appear to be more significant for the in-transit category, because of the savings available. Hopefully, the information in this thesis will assist both clients and auditors to improve their effectiveness and productivity.



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