Main Article Content
This study investigated the way professional accountants and SME owners experienced the self-regulation of professional accountants within South African SMEs. Furthermore, this study adopts an interpretivist approach, and dispels why traditional positivist accounting methods have been unable to reveal and investigate the complexities within the SME environment. The key findings of this study were that self-regulation posed significant risk to public interest and the liability of the professional accountant, and resulted in role confusion. A significant contribution of this research is the concept of ‘implied assurance’ that emerged due to the self-regulatory environment. This paper is the first to explore the views and make recommendations on accounting policy reform. It also adds to scarce literature on the structure and functioning of the accounting environment within developing economies and SMEs in South Africa.