The Accounting Historians Journal Vol. 16, No. 1 June 1989
PATTI A. MILLS, EDITOR Indiana State University
REVIEWS OF BOOKS AND OTHER PUBLICATIONS
Craswell, Allen. Audit Qualifications in Australia 1950 to 1979 (New York and London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1986, pp. 169, $22.00).
Reviewed by Roland L. Madison John Carroll University
The author has provided an interesting description of the nature and frequency of change in audit qualifications that have occurred in Australia over a period of thirty years. In the study, Craswell examined over 33,500 annual reports, of which 2,740 were identified as being "qualified." The study was based upon the following hypothesis:
Auditors respond to changes in their legal and profes-sional obligations and to the extent that those changes impinge upon reporting obligtaions, changes in the frequency of qualifications can be expected to result [p. 16].
In order to investigate this hypothesis, the author developed an extensive taxonomy for audit qualificationis. Craswell clas-sified the changes in audit qualifications as a reaction to changes in three distinct areas. These changes were: reactions to changes in the Companies Act (statutory qualifications), to changes in the auditor's legal obligations (judicial case influ-ence), and to changes in professional standards (technical pro-nouncements from the accounting profession). The author analyzed the frequency and type of qualifications separately for industrial and mining companies. As previously noted, the study covered a period of 30 years, during which time a number of significant changes occurred in technical accounting standards, the Companies Act, and legal decisions rendered. This gave the author an opportunity to measure the frequency of changes in audit qualifications and evaluate the perceived responsiveness of auditors to changes in their obligations.