In short: - a way of doing with little explanations, descriptions, reconciliations and arguments (theory)
As American practice developed and differentiated itself from the British counterpart and an interest in matters of a theoretical nature appeared
Practising auditors have increasingly emphasized the reasons for the use of various procedures as well as the steps in the procedures themselves, the “WHY” as well as the “HOW” as it is often described, this was the beginning of an auditing theory.
Perennial problems and disputes in auditing:
Are the customary tests and samples on which the auditor relies sufficient to justify his/her opinion? (in the past the judgment of an experienced practitioner was considered adequate)
How far in the direction of advocacy in tax work and in giving operating and financial advice can an independent auditor go without weakening his independence?
Does the auditor has a responsibility to disclose to his client and possibly others any weaknesses in internal control
What is the purpose of auditor´s verification tests? Is it to determine how far the system of internal control can be trusted or is it to assure the auditor that the amounts reported are reasonable and reliable in themselves?
What is the purpose of an audit theory (Mautz & Sharaf):
If auditing is a learned profession, those who practice it should have some curiosity about it – to roll back the frontier of knowledge to some extent. There should be eagerness to uncover the basic “laws” that govern its organization and activities.
A philosophy of auditing must stand the scrutiny of experts. On the one hand, it must recognize the particular nature of auditing (its objective, method and economic function). On the other hand, it must realize that philosophy has both a critical and constructive function.
Philosophy is an attitude toward know-ledge, not just an accumulation of know-ledge.
….Philosophers se questions where the rest of us see facts (Mautz & Sharaf, p. 13):