Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE credits
The demand for consultants have increased during the last decades, and not the least within the service industry. There are two major accounting occupations related to the service industry existing in Sweden nowadays: the auditor and the accounting consultants. These professions are commonly being mistaken as being the same thing. However, while the accounting consultant used to be mainly occupied with bookkeeping, the profession is currently evolving into becoming more of an advisory role providing all kinds of services, at the same time as an auditor is limited in his/her advisory role since auditor independence is crucial. The auditor profession had a major advancement regarding its occupation and professional status in the beginning of the 1900s, and now, the accounting consultant occupation seems to be on the verge of becoming similar in structure and in legitimacy to that of the auditors’’. In 2006, the trade associations, FAR and SRF, began the certification of accounting consultants, and shortly after that the establishment of Reko occurred. Reko is a norm setting regarding accepted accounting principles, it does not contain any regulations regarding the actual accounting, but guidelines and regulations for how the accounting services should be provided. Reko was primarily constructed in order to assure that the accounting services were of high quality, but the trade associations further desired the occupation to also gain status and that the accounting services provided would become more homogeneous among the authorized accounting consultants.
The purpose with our study is to see if Reko has served its purpose or if further actions need to be taken to fulfill these. Thus, we aim to investigate if Reko contributes to a higher quality in the accounting services provided, if the work of the authorized accounting consultants have become more homogeneous, and if there has been an enhancement regarding the occupational role and its status since the advent of Reko.
In order to achieve the purpose of this research, one main research question and three sub queries were constructed. A quantitative research strategy was used in order to collect empirical data that would provide answers to the research questions of this thesis. The method for collecting this data was through an online survey that was sent out to all the authorized accounting consultants registered as members at SRF. The empirical data collected was then analyzed in alignment to Reko, service quality theory, and new institutional theory.
Our empirical findings indicate that there is no distinct increase in quality, though, the authorized accounting consultants appear to use Reko rigorously at their work place and follow the various Rekos. The desired homogenization of the accounting consultants’ services provided can be considered achieved according to the empirical findings of this study, and the majority of the authorized accounting consultants further perceive an increase in the status and a strengthening of their professional role since the establishment of Reko.
2014. , 76 p.