Auditing Section Research Summaries Space

A Database of Auditing Research - Building Bridges with Practice

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  • The Auditing Section
    Analysis of Diagnostic Tasks in Accounting Research Using...
    research summary posted May 9, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.11 Auditor judgment in the workpaper review process 
    Title:
    Analysis of Diagnostic Tasks in Accounting Research Using Signal Detection Theory
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study provide insights into the decision-making process of auditors.  It suggests that accountants’ decisions may reflect an unconscious bias based on the potential cost or impact of the decision. The study provides information regarding  assignment of workpaper review responsibilities.  Managers have greater accuracy than seniors in detecting conceptual errors, but are equally accurate in detecting mechanical errors. 

    The study also provides information regarding the efficacy of audit committees.  Auditors are better able to discriminate between bankrupt and nonbankrupt companies when the audit committee consists of independent directors. 

    Citation:

    Ramsay, R. J. and R. M. Tubbs. 2005. Analysis of diagnostic tasks in accounting research using signal detection theory. Behavioral Research in Accounting 17 (1): 149-173.

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  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Are Auditors Professionally Skeptical? Evidence from...
    research summary posted July 22, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.04 Going Concern Decisions, 12.0 Accountants’ Reports and Reporting, 12.01 Going Concern Decisions 
    Title:
    Are Auditors Professionally Skeptical? Evidence from Auditors’ Going-Concern Opinions and Management Earnings Forecasts.
    Practical Implications:

    The decision process concerning a firm’s going-concern status is a crucial component of the overall audit. The authors provide new empirical evidence showing how auditors use potentially biased management forecasts in their going-concern decision process. Auditor professional skepticism is an important concept in audit practice as evidenced by its prominence throughout auditing standards. The authors show that auditors do not significantly overweight management forecasts on average, and even underweight management forecasts they perceive as being suspicious, indicating that auditors exercise professional skepticism when using management earnings forecasts. Thus, this paper is informative to regulators who are mainly concerned about auditors relying too heavily on what their clients tell them and failing to sufficiently test or challenge the forecasts, views, or representations of management.

    Citation:

    Feng, M., & Li, C. 2014. Are Auditors Professionally Skeptical? Evidence from Auditors' Going-Concern Opinions and Management Earnings Forecasts. Journal Of Accounting Research 52 (5): 1061-1085.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Are PCAOB-Identified Audit Deficiencies Associated with a...
    research summary posted November 10, 2014 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 01.0 Standard Setting, 01.06 Impact of PCAOB, 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.04 Going Concern Decisions 
    Title:
    Are PCAOB-Identified Audit Deficiencies Associated with a Change in Reporting Decisions of Triennially Inspected Audit Firms?
    Practical Implications:

    Our findings seem to support statements made by the PCAOB regarding the usefulness of the inspection process in changing audit firm behavior.

    The change in GC reporting decisions that we find suggests either (1) an increased conservatism following a PCAOB inspection, of the audit firm on important reporting issues, and/or (2) an increased level of competence brought to the reporting decision.

    It is important to note that we find no change in the accuracy of the GC opinions, as measured by the future bankruptcy (or not) for clients that received a GC opinion.

    For more information on this study, please contact Jayanthi Krishnan.

    Citation:

    Gramling, A.A., J. Krishnan and Y. Zhang. 2011. Are PCAOB-Identified Audit Deficiencies Associated with a Change in Reporting Decisions of Triennially Inspected Audit Firms? Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory 30 (3): 59-79.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Assurance worlds: Consumers, experts and independence
    research summary posted April 1, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 04.0 Independence and Ethics, 09.0 Auditor Judgment 
    Title:
    Assurance worlds: Consumers, experts and independence
    Practical Implications:

    The author provides a commentary analyzing audit principles as they relate to studies chosen by the author. The analysis is helpful in understanding practical implications of audit principles in other assurance industries. The studies analyzed by the author provide real world examples of how audit independence, audit process, and assurance services can be viewed in a different light. The commentary provides these examples in order to examine criticisms that have been leveled against the industry relating to the principles mentioned above.

    For more information on this study, please contact Michael Power (m.k.power@lse.ac.uk).

    Citation:

    Power, M. 2011. Assurance worlds: Consumers, experts and independence. Accounting, Organizations and Society 36 (4-5):324-326.

  • The Auditing Section
    Attention to Evidence of Aggressive Financial Reporting and...
    research summary posted May 7, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 06.0 Risk and Risk Management, Including Fraud Risk, 06.01 Fraud Risk Assessment, 08.0 Auditing Procedures – Nature, Timing and Extent, 08.04 Auditors’ Professional Skepticism, 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.10 Prior Dispositions/Biases/Auditor state of mind 
    Title:
    Attention to Evidence of Aggressive Financial Reporting and Intentional Misstatement Judgments: Effects of Experience and Trust
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study are important for audit firms to consider when making audit personnel assignments in order to take advantage of individual traits and experiences.  Audit firms may benefit from audit team structures that include members with varying levels of trust and varying levels of prior fraud experience.  Diversifying audit team composition may improve fraud detection while maintaining audit efficiency. 

    Citation:

    Rose, J.M. 2007. Attention to evidence of aggressive financial reporting and intentional misstatement judgments: Effects of experience and trust. Behavioral Research in Accounting 19(1): 215-229.

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  • The Auditing Section
    Audit Documentation Methods: A Path Model of Cognitive...
    research summary posted April 16, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.02 Documentation Specificity, 11.0 Audit Quality and Quality Control, 11.09 Evaluation of Evidence 
    Title:
    Audit Documentation Methods: A Path Model of Cognitive Processing
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study are important for audit firms to consider when evaluating documentation protocol.  The results suggest that the preparation of detailed workpapers resulted in better pattern recognition and also a greater identification of exceptions.  Both of these would increase audit effectiveness.  Even though detailed workpapers are associated with greater detection rates and pattern recognition, the auditors did not perform as well on memory tests.  Therefore, audit teams may enhance the memory of auditors by encouraging team members to examine evidence a greater number of times.  The results also indicated that self-review of documentation could also increase pattern recognition, which would have a beneficial impact on audit effectiveness. 

    Citation:

    Payne, E. A. and R. J. Ramsay. 2008. Audit Documentation Methods: A Path Model of Cognitive Processing, Memory, and Performance. Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory 27 (1): 151-168

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  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Audit Fees and Investor Perceptions of Audit...
    research summary posted September 9, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 02.0 Client Acceptance and Continuance, 02.01 Audit Fee Decisions, 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.06 Adequacy of Disclosure 
    Title:
    Audit Fees and Investor Perceptions of Audit Characteristics.
    Practical Implications:

    These findings provide important insight into investors’ current perceptions of auditor independence, particularly in the absence of relative or comparative information, and suggests that it might be useful for regulators, when contemplating additional disclosure requirements, to allocate some attention to disclosures that have the potential to enhance investor perceptions of auditor independence. The findings of this study contribute to the forum of debate concerning the current state of audit-related disclosures and their value for investors.

    Citation:

    Beck, A. K., R. M. Fuller, L. Muriel, and C. D. Reid. 2013. Audit Fees and Investor Perceptions of Audit Characteristics. Behavioral Research in Accounting 25 (2): 71-95.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Audit Partner Evaluation of Compensating Controls: A Focus...
    research summary posted February 16, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 07.0 Internal Control, 07.02 Assessing Material Weaknesses, 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.02 Documentation Specificity 
    Title:
    Audit Partner Evaluation of Compensating Controls: A Focus on Design Effectiveness and Extent of Auditor Testing
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study are important for audit firms to consider when audit partners are evaluating the level of precision in a compensating control. The evidence indicates that the partner’s knowledge of the existence of a material weakness unrelated to a compensating control being evaluated results in partners preferring a more precise compensating control and requiring more audit testing. Furthermore, this has implications for the efficiency of the audits as control-related decisions are potentially being influenced by inappropriate factors.

    For more information on this study, please contact Audrey Gramling, Ed O’Donnell, or Scott D. Vandervelde. 

    Citation:

    Gramling, A., E. O’Donnell, and S.D. Vandervelde. 2010. Audit Partner Evaluation of Compensating Controls: A Focus on Design Effectiveness and Extent of Auditor Testing. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory 29 (2): 175-187.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Audit Partner Perceptions of Post-Audit Review Mechanisms:...
    research summary posted April 28, 2014 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.12 Impact of potential post-audit review - e.g., PCAOB, internal firm inspections, 11.0 Audit Quality and Quality Control, 11.11 Impact of Firm and External Inspection Programs 
    Title:
    Audit Partner Perceptions of Post-Audit Review Mechanisms: An Examination of Internal Quality Reviews and PCAOB Inspections
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study make several contributions. It is beneficial to researchers interested in furthering our understanding of the effects and effectiveness of IQRs and PCAOB inspections, as well as to practitioners and regulators. While many opportunities for further research exist, results indicating a large portion of partners try to predict the engagements that will be selected for either PAR can serve as a foundation to investigate further the effects of PAR salience on audit planning and reporting decisions.

    For more information on this study, please contact Richard W. Houston
     

    Citation:

    Houston, R. W., and C. M. Stefaniak. 2013. Audit Partner Perceptions of Post-Audit Review Mechanisms: An Examination of Internal Quality Reviews and PCAOB Inspections. Accounting Horizons 27 (1).

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Audit Reporting for Going-Concern Uncertainty: A Research...
    research summary posted October 20, 2014 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.04 Going Concern Decisions, 12.0 Accountants’ Reports and Reporting, 12.01 Going Concern Decisions 
    Title:
    Audit Reporting for Going-Concern Uncertainty: A Research Synthesis
    Practical Implications:

    This study provides a summary of the literature examining the auditor’s GCO decisions. Determinants of GCOs include client factors (e.g. size, level of financial stress, financial reporting quality, corporate governance), auditor factors (e.g. audit firm size), auditor-client relationships (e.g. auditor switching and the issue of opinion shopping) and environmental factors (e.g. changes in regulations, auditing standards and audit market structure). Important findings are that auditors will change the likelihood of issuing GCOs in response to changes in the environment (whether due to changes in regulation or changes in the economy) and that the majority of companies that receive GCOs do not subsequently file for bankruptcy.

    For more information on this study, please contact Elizabeth Carson.

    Citation:

    Carson, E., N. L. Fargher, M. A. Geiger, C. S. Lennox, K. Raghunandan, and M. Willekens. 2013. Audit reporting for going-concern uncertainty: A research synthesis. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory 32 (Supp): 353-384.

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