Emile Woolf International Publishing's ACCA P1 Governance, Risk and Ethics PDF

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Emile Woolf Publishing Limited Chapter 2: Agency relationships and theories Transaction cost economics theory 2 „ Costs of the firm: production costs and transaction costs „ Assumptions in transaction cost economics „ The variables in transaction cost economics „ Comparison of transaction cost economics with agency theory Transaction cost economics theory Agency theory explains the relationship between the owners of a company and its management as the resolution of a conflict of interests. Shareholders delegate the task of running the company to their managers, but need to ensure that agency costs are minimised.

When a firm of auditors, or a regional office of a national firm, earns most of its income from one corporate client there is a risk that the auditors might choose to accept what they are told by the company’s management, rather than question them rigorously and risk an argument. It has been suggested that this occurred in the Houston office of Andersen’s, the audit firm that collapsed in 2002 as a result of the Enron scandal. „ Familiarity can also remove an individual’s independence, because when one person knows another well he is more likely to accept what that person tells him and support his point of view.

Emile Woolf Publishing Limited Chapter 2: Agency relationships and theories Fiduciary duty of directors As agents of the company, directors have a fiduciary duty to the company. A fiduciary duty is a duty of trust. A director must act on behalf of the company in total good faith, and must not put his personal interests before the interests of the company. If a director is in breach of this fiduciary duty he could be held liable in law, if the company were to take legal action against him. Legal action by a company against a director for breach of fiduciary duty would normally be taken by the rest of the board of directors or, possibly, a majority of the shareholders acting in the name of the company.

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