Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Marc Massoud

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This paper will examine the effectiveness of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) in improving ethics within the external auditing profession. The first chapter explores well-known ethical theories and professional code of conducts related to the auditing profession. The second chapter details the generally accepted auditing standards and changes that have been made throughout the years. The third chapter examines past corporate fraudulent scandals (Waste Management, Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, Enron) and studies the role of auditors in contributing to the collapse of these corporations. The forth chapter details the objective of the SOX and how it plans to protect the investing public and improve the reliability of financial information. Finally, the fifth chapter compiles various research studies that examine the effects of the SOX and its impact on audit quality.

The author discovered that regulation could help enhance ethics through indirect measures that aim to improve audit qualities, and thus, promote virtue ethics within the auditing profession. Some of these measures include establishing an oversight board to strengthen regulation and enforcement (section 101), reducing the scope of non-audit services (section 201), requiring auditors to attest to a client’s internal control operating effectiveness (section 404) and promoting principles-based standards within the profession (section 108). Through these measures, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act has managed to regain the public trust and improve audit quality, thereby, enhancing ethics within the auditing profession.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.