Audit Committee Case Study

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Definition of the problem In recent years, much attention has been focused on the responsibilities and effectiveness of audit committees within corporate governance in the wake of several high profiles corporate governance failures, such as Polly Peck, BCCI Bank and Maxwell in the UK, WorldCom and Enron in the US, and Parmalat in Italy. The importance of strong corporate governance has assumed a vital role in organizations ever since these highly publicized corporate fiascos. Regulations have been brought in most countries around the world to improve the running of audit committees as an apparatus to reinforce good corporate governance in order to avoid future accounting scandals. Indubitably, it can be perceived that only an audit committee…show more content…
In most corporations, ownership and control are separate, in that the owners of a firm (the firm’s security-holders) entrust the day to day running of the firm to managers. In general, although owners may have an idea of what the optimal strategy for the firm is, it is impossible to force managers to follow this plan. Managers may then behave opportunistically, taking inflated salaries, investing in pet projects and enjoying other perquisites (perks). Hence, in such scenarios, managers can set corporate policy to maximize their own utility rather than setting the policy that would maximize shareholder wealth. This is the agency problem that arises in modern corporations and was first talked about in relation to capital structure by Jensen and Meckling…show more content…
In fact, companies should have effective audit committees. Having an audit committee is one thing whilst having an effective audit committee is a different matter. The effectiveness of the audit committee is thus being questioned. This is also the case for Mauritius. Mauritius has also experienced accounting fiascos including the famous Mauritius Commercial Bank Ltd (MCB)-National Pension Fund (NPF) fraud case. Few researches have been initiated to assess the effectiveness of audit committees in Mauritian firms. There are many features that regulate the effectiveness of the audit committee. In this study, characteristics including independence and size, financial literacy, meetings and tenure will be considered. Hence, this research will be carried out to assess the effectiveness of audit committees in Mauritius, from the perspective of accounting

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