This paper reviews the claim that there has been an audit explosion in recent years and seeks to refine the argument in terms of its institutional and behavioral effects and its underlying causes and consequences. A framework for greater comparative sensitivity is suggested, both in cross-national and cross-sectoral terms, which focuses on variation in the knowledge base, formal organization, and operational dimensions of auditing. Finally, a preliminary framework for evaluating the design of auditing practices is developed that could inform a post-Enron critical discussion of the problems and the potential for auditing in the future.