Realizing Auditor Independence in China: Insights from the Local Context

  • Huiying Wu University of Western Sydney
  • Sammy Xiaoyan Ying Macquarie University


This study contributes to context-based auditing research by providing insights into the realization of auditor independence in China’s politico-economic and cultural context. Given the increasing legitimizing power and wide diffusion of Western corporate governance and accountability, it is crucial to examine the practice of imported concepts in countries such as China, where the development of accounting profession has taken a different path and been shaped by contextual influences different from those of Anglo-American countries. Twenty-one semi-structured interviews were used to obtain insights into auditor independence. The findings suggest a discrepancy between the imported construct of auditor independence and China’s institutional context. China’s politico-economic and social contexts have narrowed construction of auditor independence to its economic dimension. Given the pervasiveness of guanxi, low legal risk, and intense competition in the audit services market, Chinese auditors are under pressure to lower audit fees, avoid issuing qualified opinions, and provide additional advice and assistance on financial reporting. We argue that when auditor independence, as developed in Western economies, is implemented in transitional economies, there is a need to take into account its ability to adapt. Keywords: Auditing, Auditor Independence, China, Local Context To cite this document: Huiying Wu and Sammy Xiaoyan Ying, "Realizing Auditor Independence in China: Insights from the Local Context", Contemporary Management Research, Vol.12, No.2, pp. 245-272, 2016. Permanent link to this document:

Author Biographies

Huiying Wu, University of Western Sydney
School of Business
Sammy Xiaoyan Ying, Macquarie University
Department of Accounting and Corporate Governance
How to Cite
Wu, H., & Ying, S. (2016). Realizing Auditor Independence in China: Insights from the Local Context. Contemporary Management Research, 12(2).
Accounting and Finance