A century of debate for internal controls and their assessment: A study of reactive evolution

Jan R. Heier, Michael T. Dugan, David L. Sayers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In July 2002, the United States Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in an effort to assuage the public outrage over the lax regulatory oversight in light of the high-profile financial scandals. It was hoped that the act would calm the fears of investors and bring confidence back to corporate reporting through a mandated internal control review process. Though the impact of the act on audit procedures and internal control development will be studied for many years, it may be simply one of many developments in the evolution of internal control theory and practice that had occurred over the previous century. Like Sarbanes- Oxley, many of the changes in internal control procedures were a reaction to an event that identified a weakness in current practice. This evolution of the internal control process, as seen through the many laws, regulations and pronouncements of the previous century, has been, in the main, a reactive one resulting from inadequate control measures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-70
Number of pages32
JournalAccounting History
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Accounting controls
  • Accounting irregularities
  • Administrative controls
  • Audit integrity
  • Control environment
  • Control procedures
  • Control risk
  • Errors and irregularities
  • Fraud
  • Internal control
  • SAS No.55
  • SAS No.78
  • SAS No.82
  • Sarbanes-Oxley

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Accounting
  • History


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