Public sector audit in uncertain times

Carolyn J. Cordery*, David C. Hay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the future, environmental disasters and resource constraints will continue to impact the public sector audit environment. Governments will be held responsible for their responses and the corresponding financial impacts, particularly rising levels of public debt. Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) are vital in keeping governments accountable. Yet, they also need legitimacy and they are subject to isomorphic pressures to gain this. Mimetic isomorphism explains SAIs’ structures, although they remain diverse, worldwide. Our analysis of extensive data about SAIs together with statistical measures about countries, an international survey and document analysis enables us to make projections about what isomorphic pressures will shape SAIs and enable them to deal with an uncertain future. Examining xpublic debt and the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals as case studies, we show how isomorphism will shape SAIs’ responses to an uncertain future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)426-446
JournalFinancial Accountability and Management
Issue number3
Early online date23 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2021 The Authors. Financial Accountability & Management published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • Auditing
  • isomorphism
  • public resource scarcity
  • public sector
  • Supreme Audit Institutions


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