The purpose of this paper is to develop and test a concept of auditor as consigliere in family firms, that captures additional functions to monitoring, those of advice, mediating, and conveying.
The concept is tested through a survey conducted on 309 Swedish auditors.
The data indicate that the consigliere role is generally not emphasized, indicating that auditors primarily perform the monitoring role of the audit. However, the authors do find indications of the auditor performing the consigliere role, through performing the advisory and mediating functions and, to a smaller degree, the conveying function.
The survey is limited in response rate and in separating governance situations from consigliere functions.
With reservation for professional independence, the auditor as consigliere could be part of the governance of the family firm, but should be trained for this activity.
Regulators should pay attention to the consigliere role when, for example, stipulating compulsory rotation of auditors.
The paper shows that the auditor is more than a monitor in family firms. The consigliere role, even if not at all dominating, has to be considered, at least in family firms.
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2017. Vol. 7, no 1, 2-20 p.