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Hecimovic, Angela

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  • Paper Title: Assurance of Natural Resource Management
  • Department Affiliation: Accounting and Corporate Governance
  • Supervisor's Names:
    • Professor Nonna Martinov-Bennie
    • Professor James Guthrie

Purpose:        

To explore the development and implementation of audit and assurance processes and practices emerging within an Australian public sector organisation.

Originality:  

There is limited research to date that examines practitioner and organisational perspective of non-financial environmental assurance dynamics in the context of a specific case study. This research focuses on the relevance and meaning of “audit” within the context of natural resource management environmental audits.

Key literature/theoretical perspective:

The initial literature review concentrated on themes of assurance of sustainability reporting. Subsequent stages examine theoretical extensions based on Power (2003,1997,1996) as a lens for interpreting the data such as the means by which the case study organisation actively constructs the audit/assurance context in which it operates..

Design/methodology/approach:

The methodology utilised is a longitudinal (three year) case study of a public sector body responsible for natural resource management in an Australian state. Data is being collected from multiple sources including observation, interviews, informal discussions, and internal and externally reported documentation.    

Findings:

The  findings indicate that regulators’ and standard-setters’ future efforts need to clarify key underlying concepts, namely the meaning of assurance in relation to environmental practices and reporting, and whether various levels of assurance and concepts of audit evidence, materiality, risk, etc., are in fact relevant and transportable to the environmental audit and public sector context.

Research limitations/implications:

This research addresses the need for in-depth research into environmental assurance practices. The study is conducted within a single case study organisation.  

Practical and social implications:

This research is of interest to the accounting profession, standard-setters, academia and relevant public sector organisations.

Keywords:

Assurance, Audit, Natural Resource Management, Environmental.