Factors influencing the adoption of voluntary audits for Small and Medium Enterprises in Nairobi County, Kenya
Small and medium enterprises play a major role in economic development and in the provision of employment and poverty alleviation. Auditing has many benefits to small and medium enterprises, which include bringing about financial discipline and preventing money laundering, fraud and other illegal activities. However, SMEs in Kenya show a low adoption and utilization. This study therefore sought to investigate on the factors influencing the adoption of voluntary audits for SMEs in Kenya. The study also sought to determine the influence of firm characteristics, credit access requirements, compliance with tax regulations and ownership-control characteristics on the adoption of voluntary audits for SMEs in Kenya. This research study used a descriptive research design. The group of interest was all the SMEs in Gikomba market registered with Nairobi City County. Nairobi City County License register of 2018, there are 1040 business enterprises in Gikomba market with between 10 and 99 employees. Therefore, the target population of this study was1,040 managers/owners of business enterprises in Gikomba market. A stratified random sampling method was used to choose 288 owners/managers form the target population. The study used primary data, which was collected by use of semi-structured questionnaires. The study conducted pilot test to assess the validity and reliability of the research instruments. In this research, both qualitative data and quantitative data were retrieved from semi-structured questionnaire. Different methods of data analysis were adopted to analyze this data. Thematic analysis was adopted to analyze qualitative data after which the results were presented in a prose form. Further, both inferential statistics and descriptive statistics were adopted to analyze quantitative data. This was done with the help of SPSS version 22. The study found that firm characteristics, credit access requirements, compliance with tax regulations and ownership control positively and significantly influence the adoption of voluntary audits among SMEs. The study concludes that firm characteristics, credit access requirements, compliance with tax regulations and ownership control have a significant influence on the adoption of voluntary audits for small and medium enterprises in Nairobi County. From the findings, this study recommends that the SME owners/managers should ensure proper record of all financial documents which includes cash flow statements. The study also recommends training programmes by the financial institutions to the SME owners/manager so at to increase the knowledge and skills on preparation of financial statements. Further SME owners/managers should ensure regular auditing of the financial statements so as to boost their access to credit facilities from financial institutions. To the management of SMEs the study provides information that can be used to develop strategies to enhance utilization of voluntary financial audits as a way of improving growth and performance among SMEs. To the policy makers the study provides information that can be used to formulate policies to enhance voluntary audits among SMEs in Kenya.