Limpberg, Theodore

Limpberg, Theodore
1879-1961 A Dutch auditing theorist and practitioner. Overlapping with *Lawrence Robert Dicksee’s later career in the United Kingdom, Limpberg’s early life as an external auditor was followed by an academic career in the Netherlands in which he made major contributions to auditing theory. The focus of his work on auditing concerned (i) the discipline’s role in society, (ii) its scientific, objective nature, and (iii) links between auditing and economic theory. A major concern in his writings was the need for auditing to transcend routine verification procedures to base itself on procedures tailored to the circumstances of the organization audited. This came to be known as the "sufficient audit" - an audit tailored to particular circumstances, and thereby to be "sufficient" for (or reasonably necessary for) the purpose at hand. Limpberg also wrote extensively on a theory he described as "inspired confidence." This concerned the importance of the confidence given to a society’s economic transactions by the existence of a reputable external auditing profession. He wrote in the context of the economic depressions of the 1920s and 1930s, when many of the practices of the continental European external auditing profession were ad hoc and unsystematic. In the early twenty-first century (in the aftermath of the *Enron and *WorldCom scandals, and with the demise of *Arthur Andersen), it is clear that Limpberg’s concerns regarding the importance of the confidence instilled by external auditing remain perennial ones. Limpberg was influential in the Netherlands and beyond. His Dutch followers came to be known as the "Amsterdam School," and they carried forward his theories into a coherent school of thought. Limpberg’s legacy survives in the form of the Netherlands-based Limpberg Institute, a research foundation that has made some of his writings available in English. Further reading: Camfferman and Zeff (1994); Limpberg (1985)

Auditor's dictionary. 2014.

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