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Nikos Kazantzakis on audit independence

December 8, 2012

Recently, I not only went to Greece, I bought the T shirt.  On the shirt is an inscription of a famous quote from Nikos Kazantzakis, the author famous among other things for writing ‘Zorba the Greek’  The quote is:

Δεν ελπίζω τίποτα. Δε φοβομαι τίποτα. Είμαι λεύτερος.

which translates to

I hope for nothing.  I fear nothing.  I am free.

At the time, I bought it because I needed a shirt, and this seemed a cool thing to wear, in both senses.  Being an auditor, I later realised that the quote can also be translated as:

I desire no inducements. I cannot be threatened. I have audit independence.

Later I thought more about this famous quote.  It sets a very high price for freedom.  I have a career, so I do have hopes.  I have a family, so I do have fears.  And taking a similar extension, can auditors ever achieve true independence?  Perhaps we can only hope to avoid the more egregious froms of lack of independence.

After Athens, where I bought the T-shirt, I later went to Iraklion, the main city of Crete.  There you will find this quote inscribed on his tomb.  Nikos Kazantzakis is now free.

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