There clearly is a business case for external audits. Shareholders own shares. They don't own the business. The shareholders put initial money or desparate money. But directors and employee put (use) their intelligence, hardwork and honesty. Customers put (place) their trust. Suppliers put (deliver) their goods. Local community and Government put (lend) their support and of course environment always puts (bestows) the wealth and mindset. Audited Financial Statements are still the best available judgements on this truth. Mankind does not have any better tool.
Directors also don't own the business. They run the business. They should be smart and good; at the same time they should be honest and transperent. It may be a tall order for just one person. That is why it is Board of directors and these traits and talents are balanced in the pool of the board. You also need a combination of executive and non-executive directors - in fact less executive and more non-executive. It is only auditors who polilce these matters of responsibilities of governing bodies. These matters may not look important to you if you are a small company. It is in fact equally important even for a small company. Small or big, there is an equal need to manage cleverly, fairly, responsibly and transperantly in order to produce good performance, to inculcate ethical culture, to place effective controls and to demonstrate legitimacy. Escaping from these only makes you a small and perhaps insignificant player.
In those days directors said and others listened. Managers spoke and subordindates did not want to oppose. Organisations were clearly hierarchical. So audit was meant to check on these directors and managers. Today directors or managers or subordinates or staff members - all are entrepreneurial, in the sense that all sell, all reduce expense, all innovate and all do a Wow! job. These changes in organisational design has nothing to do with audit. Audit is equally useful to old and new organisations alike. Audit is concerned with truth and fairness of postion, revenue and cash flows of any organisation or company or unit or branch, old or new, small or big.
Bottom line, if you don't do audit or if you don't have audit, you are either economically insignificant or you company really has a problem. Audit brings in the right balance between Share Value and Shared Value; and, the right balance between Shareholders and Stakeholders. RSM does not take up audit assignments where it can't demonstrate the Power of Being Understood.