Journal of Finance and Accounting. 2014, 2(4), 100-114DOI:
Abstract: The study investigated and adds to our understanding of auditing practices and their contributions towards organizational efficiency in the context of Local Government Authorities (LGAs) in emerging and less developed countries. The research explored the manner and extent to which auditing practices interact in a multiple stakeholder scenario. The research was conducted in four local government authorities in Tanzania. The findings of this research revealed that there was a Wrestling for internal efficiency in the LGAs. Wrestling for internal efficiency is a product of the perceived dream of having LGAs which are efficient, effective, transparent and accountable. Despite a persistent decline in the performance of the LGAs, various LGAs’ actors believed that effective LGAs could be attained if the internal actors in LGAs played their parts effectively and efficiently. The study contributes to the existing debate posed by Power (1994) about whether audits can deliver what they promise in the form of greater accountability, efficiency or quality, or whether they, in fact, fuel the problems? In addition, the study provides practical evidence about how auditing can be used as an instrument to foster organizational efficiency. From the substantive theory of wrestling for internal efficiency, it was observed that auditing has a substantial role to play in achieving organizational efficiency. For example, the research uncovered that audit has increased interactions among actors, through participatory audits and the use of audit reports by various stakeholders. It was also revealed that in the LGAs, auditing was found to be a catalyst for a number of reforms and measures introduced by the Central Government, including migrating to the use of International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSASs) and the appointment of an Internal Auditor General in Tanzania. Furthermore, the external overseeing bodies, particularly the Local Authorities Accounting Committee (LAAC) and the External Auditor, emerged as the most useful overseeing bodies to make the LGAs’ actors perform. The close relationship between the LAAC’s and the External Auditor’s functions were found to increase Executives’ accountability in the LGAs.