The Continuity of the Board of Statutory Auditors Across Social, Economic and Political Institutional Changes
European Accounting Review, Forthcoming
53 Pages Posted: 11 May 2020
Date Written: April 16, 2020
This study examines how and why the board of statutory auditors, an important accounting institution, has continued to operate from its establishment in 1882 until today, with little change in its nature and role. This is despite the fundamental changes that have occurred in the Italian social, economic and political environment. This study reveals that even though Italy’s societal institutions have substantially changed, the board of statutory auditors has continued to exist with no real change in its essence. This long-lived accounting institution has continued to operate, with no material change in its nature, across different historical blocs, such as monarchy, fascism, post-war socio-democratic republic, neoliberal republic, and major changes in Italian politics and economy. This accounting institution has also faced a series of potentially significant sources of change, which appeared dramatic at first sight, but had no significant far-reaching historical impact, as hegemony was unaffected. In Italian society, the board of statutory auditors has provided a reassurance role, in principle this is to monitor company directors, a role which is perceived to benefit all society. However, in practice, this institution has provided a legitimating, rather than a substantive monitoring mechanism. It helped to exercise a hegemonic control for the ruling class, whose power was diffused across society through civil institutions during various historical blocs.
Keywords: accounting history, board of statutory auditors, hegemony, Italy
JEL Classification: M41, M42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation