This paper explores broad trends in regulation of the auditing profession from 1981–2005, the first 25 years of Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory. It begins with a sketch of the 1980 regulatory environment, three constants over the next 25 years, and three external developments or “shocks” that dramatically affected audit regulation activity. The initial conditions, constants, and shocks are then related to audit regulation beginning with the audit risk model in the 1980s as the basis for selfregulated auditing standards, continuing with a vision of unregulated, non‐mandated value‐adding assurance services in the 1990s, and finally, the 2002 statutory adoption of independent regulation of registered accounting firms and a government‐sanctioned corporate governance role for auditors. I close with some implications of the 2005 audit regulation environment for future auditing scholars and practitioners.

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