European Journal of Law and Economics

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 517–552 | Cite as

Public oversight systems for statutory auditors in the European Union

  • Beatriz García Osma
  • Ana Gisbert
  • Elena de las Heras Cristóbal


We provide a comparative overview of the process of implementation, harmonization and stabilization of public oversight systems for statutory auditors across the European Union (EU) after Directive 2006/43/EC. We build on institutional change theory to identify potential determinants as to why some countries still lag in this harmonization process. Oversight systems are a key institutional factor to guarantee the quality of financial information, essential to maintain investors’ confidence and deep and stable capital markets. Thus, the harmonization of these systems has long been an objective of the EU. Our analyses serve to identify, analyse and compare how EU countries have incorporated European-wide requirements into their national legal systems. Particularly, we study: (1) basic characteristics of the system and bodies for public oversight, (2) organizational structure, (3) financing (4) transparency, (5) supervisory, and (6) disciplinary mechanisms. We show that significant diversity still exists across systems and that both the incentives for institutional change and the distance between pre-existing systems and the Directive are important explanatory factors of the achieved level of harmonization.


Auditing Directive 2006/43/EU Institutional differences Oversight systems Disciplinary systems Harmonization Accounting 

JEL Classification

G30 G38 K22 M40 M48 



We gratefully acknowledge helpful comments and suggestions from the editor and an anonymous reviewer. Also, from Leandro Cañibano, Cristina de Fuentes, Laura Gil, Jose A. Gonzalo, Begoña Navallas, Domi Romero, Jose Luis Ucieda, Risto Ruuska and seminar participants at 9th EUFIN workshop and the X Workshop on Empirical Research in Financial Accounting. We acknowledge financial contribution from the AECA Carlos Cubillo Chair in Accounting and Auditing (Capítulo Español), the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation (ECO2010-19314 and ECO2013-48328), the ICAC (Instituto de Contabilidad y Auditoría de Cuentas) and ASEPUC, through the XVIII Fernandez Pirla Research Funding.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Beatriz García Osma
    • 1
  • Ana Gisbert
    • 1
    • 2
  • Elena de las Heras Cristóbal
    • 1
  1. 1.Departamento de ContabilidadUniversidad Autónoma de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Contabilidade e AtuáriaUniversidade de São PauloSão PauloBrazil

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