Auditing Section Research Summaries Space

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  • The Auditing Section
    Accountability and auditors’ materiality judgments: The e...
    research summary posted May 3, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.01 Audit Scope and Materiality Judgments, 09.02 Documentation Specificity, 09.11 Auditor judgment in the workpaper review process, 10.0 Engagement Management, 10.02 Materiality and Scope Decisions, 10.03 Interaction among Team Members 
    Title:
    Accountability and auditors’ materiality judgments: The effects of differential pressure strength on conservatism, variability, and effort.
    Practical Implications:

    Firms should consider the levels of accountability pressure and situations where they use them and consider how different levels of pressure may impact performance.  Higher levels of accountability pressure may increase effectiveness and increase the likelihood of finding material misstatements. 

    On the other hand, increased effectiveness and time spent due to higher levels of accountability pressure may cause inefficiencies and result in unnecessary effort.  Firms should evaluate the costs and benefits for their situations. 

    The authors note that this study only looks at the effect of accountability pressure from an unknown partner.  In the real world, auditors have accountability pressures from many levels such as other superiors, clients, regulators, and audit committees. 
    Further, the auditor may have assessed things differently if they knew the partner that was performing their review.

    Citation:

    DeZoort, T., P. Harrison, and M. Taylor. 2006.  Accountability and auditors’ materiality judgments: The effects of differential pressure strength on conservatism, variability, and effort.  Accounting, Organizations, and Society 31 (4-5):  373-390. 

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  • The Auditing Section
    The effects of feedback type on auditor judgment performance...
    research summary posted May 3, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.11 Auditor judgment in the workpaper review process, 10.0 Engagement Management, 10.03 Interaction among Team Members 
    Title:
    The effects of feedback type on auditor judgment performance for configural and non-configural tasks
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study indicate management should consider the level of task complexity before determining the best form of feedback to provide a staff member.  For simple tasks, it may be effective to merely provide staff with the correct answer.  However, for more complex tasks, it would be beneficial to provide staff with an explanation of the decision-making process in addition to the correct answer for that task.  The study also suggests that it could be beneficial to provide staff with insight into their own decision making process for complex tasks, particularly when they have low-levels of self-insight.  Thus, the results can directly inform the protocol of a firm’s workpaper review process.  This feedback could ultimately improve auditors’ subsequent decisions in audit tasks, which would improve audit quality.

    Citation:

    Leung, P. W. and K. T. Trotman. 2005. The effects of feedback type on auditor judgment performance for configural and non-configural tasks. Accounting, Organizations and Society 30 (6): 537-553.

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  • The Auditing Section
    Exploring Trust and the Auditor-Client Relationship: Factors...
    research summary posted May 3, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 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, 10.0 Engagement Management, 10.04 Interactions with Client Management 
    Title:
    Exploring Trust and the Auditor-Client Relationship: Factors Influencing the Auditor’s Trust of a Client Representative
    Practical Implications:

    The findings provide evidence that auditors do hold a level of trust in client representatives and that the level of trust is associated with commonplace behaviors of client representative that attract trust.  The results of this study are important to make auditors and auditing standards setters aware of factors that may lead to greater auditor trust of client management and perhaps consider whether there may be a potential for excessive trust to overwhelm the auditor’s professional skepticism. Note that the study was unable to determine whether the levels of trust that the auditors had for the client were such that auditor judgment would be compromised.

    Citation:

    Rennie, M. D., L. S. Kopp, and W. M. Lemon. 2010. Exploring Trust and the Auditor-Client Relationship: Factors Influencing the Auditor’s Trust of a Client Representative. Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory 29 (1): 279-293

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  • The Auditing Section
    Globalization and the Coordinating of Work in Multinational...
    research summary posted May 3, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 05.0 Audit Team Composition, 05.05 Diversity of Skill Sets e.g., Tenure and Experience, 05.09 Group Decision-Making, 10.0 Engagement Management, 10.03 Interaction among Team Members 
    Title:
    Globalization and the Coordinating of Work in Multinational Audits
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study are important for audit firms to consider when conducting multinational audits involving several different local offices. The results suggest that local offices of audit firms may modify inter-office instructions and firm audit methodologies to suit the needs of their local client, including adapting materiality levels. Additionally, results suggest that while some local offices see the worldwide audit team as their “client” other offices are focused on meeting the needs of their local client.

    Citation:

    Barrett, M., D.J. Cooper and K. Jamal. 2005. Globalization and the Coordinating of Work in Multinational Audits. Accounting, Organizations and Society 30 (1): 1-24.

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  • The Auditing Section
    Audit Fees at U.S. Non-Profit Organizations
    research summary posted May 2, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 02.0 Client Acceptance and Continuance, 02.01 Audit Fee Decisions, 10.0 Engagement Management, 10.06 Audit Fees and Fee Negotiations 
    Title:
    Audit Fees at U.S. Non-Profit Organizations
    Practical Implications:

    This study identifies relationships between attributes specific to non-profit organizations (see above) and external audit fees, and it has practical implications for non-profit organizations as well as auditors in negotiating audit fees.  The audit fee model can be useful for non-profit organizations that seek to benchmark their audit fees.  Additionally, this study shows that non-profits with higher quality internal oversight are willing to incur additional costs for monitoring by external auditors. Further, this study shows that Big 4 auditors earn a premium for their services in the non-profit sector (similar to the for-profit sector).

    Citation:

    Vermeer, T. E., K. Raghunandan, and D. A. Forgione. 2009.  Audit Fees at U.S. Non-Profit Organizations.  Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory 28 (2): 289-303.

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  • The Auditing Section
    Resolving Disputed Financial Reporting Issues: Effects of...
    research summary posted April 23, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 05.0 Audit Team Composition, 05.05 Diversity of Skill Sets e.g., Tenure and Experience, 10.0 Engagement Management, 10.04 Interactions with Client Management 
    Title:
    Resolving Disputed Financial Reporting Issues: Effects of Auditor Negotiation Experience and Engagement Risk on Negotiation Process and Outcome
    Practical Implications:

    The critical implication from these findings is that, despite the expectation of conservatism required by GAAP, under certain circumstances some auditors may acquiesce more readily to client pressures than other auditors.  Specifically, when engagement risk is high, auditors with lower negotiation experience may tend to make more concessions in negotiations to the client than auditors with higher negotiation experience or auditors in a lower engagement risk setting.  

    Thus, though the paper does not discuss the following point specifically, the audit firms should be aware of this vulnerability of auditors with lower negotiation experience and should consider this in planning negotiations and assignments.  Potentially, audit firms may consider assigning managers and partners who are less experienced in negotiation to clients with lower engagement risk and/or lower litigation exposure for the audit firm.  Alternatively, when managers or partners with lower negotiation experience are placed on clients with high engagement risk, firms may consider assigning a manager or partner with more negotiation experience to accompany the manager or partner with less negotiation experience. 

    Citation:

    Brown, H. L., and K. M. Johnstone. Resolving Disputed Financial Reporting Issues: Effects of Auditor Negotiation Experience and Engagement Risk on Negotiation Process and Outcome. Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory 28(2):65-92.

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  • The Auditing Section
    Auditors’ Decisions on Audit Differences that Affect S...
    research summary posted April 16, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.01 Audit Scope and Materiality Judgments, 09.08 Evaluation of Errors – Statistical and Non-statistical, 10.0 Engagement Management, 10.02 Materiality and Scope Decisions 
    Title:
    Auditors’ Decisions on Audit Differences that Affect Significant Earnings Thresholds
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study are important for auditors to consider when making materiality judgments.  The evidence indicates that auditors are more likely to overlook the qualitative importance of adjustments that affect a client’s ability to meet or beat analysts’ forecasts.  Furthermore, findings suggest that auditors are more lenient with subjective audit differences.  The study suggests that providing auditors with guidance on qualitative materiality may improve materiality judgments, but it does not completely alleviate the differences among the earnings benchmarks. 

    Citation:

    Ng, T.B. 2007. Auditors’ Decisions on Audit Differences that Affect Significant Earnings Thresholds. Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory 26 (1): 71-89.

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  • The Auditing Section
    Negotiations Over Accounting Issues: The Congruency of Audit...
    research summary posted April 13, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.10 Prior Dispositions/Biases/Auditor state of mind, 10.0 Engagement Management, 10.04 Interactions with Client Management 
    Title:
    Negotiations Over Accounting Issues: The Congruency of Audit Partner and Chief Financial Officer Recalls
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study are important for auditors and managers to consider when negotiating.  For example, the authors propose that auditors must take the initiative if they hope to achieve a “win-win” compromise because CFOs view negotiation as surrounding one issue, while audit partners view negotiations as involving multiple issues at once.  Findings from negotiation research shows that “win-win” solutions are more likely when issues are integrated than when they are isolated.  Furthermore, the authors propose that audit partners should be trained to recognize that CFOs are more likely to view the negotiation as a “win-lose” negotiation.  As a result, auditors must be trained to use tactics to achieve good outcomes under a “win-lose” scenario or to purposefully change the negotiation to a “win-win” style of negotiation when the potential for such an outcome exists.  Finally, the authors propose that auditors should be trained to understand that CFOs have different perspectives on the context of the negotiation (such as differing opinions of staff expertise), and reaching good outcomes is partially dependent on understanding the perspective of the other party.

    Citation:

    Gibbins, M., S. A. McCracken, and S.E. Salterio. 2005. Negotiations Over Accounting Issues: The Congruency of Audit Partner and Chief Financial Officer Recalls. Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory 24 (Supplement): 171-193.

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  • The Auditing Section
    A Review and Integration of Empirical Research on...
    research summary posted April 13, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.01 Audit Scope and Materiality Judgments, 10.0 Engagement Management, 10.02 Materiality and Scope Decisions 
    Title:
    A Review and Integration of Empirical Research on Materiality: Two Decades Later
    Practical Implications:

    The results of the studies documented in this review suggest that there is a great deal of variability in the approaches taken by firms for establishing materiality. Such differences in materiality methods can affect both the effectiveness and efficiency of audits. For example, if firms differ in how they allocate materiality to financial statement accounts, then the scope of the work could differ across audits with similar characteristics. Auditors also appear to differ in terms of the factors they consider for determining the materiality of internal control weaknesses, suggesting that auditors may need more structured criteria to make materiality judgments about internal control weaknesses. Materiality judgments are influenced by authoritative guidance, suggesting that standard setters and audit firms have the ability to influence auditors’ materiality judgments by providing auditors with specific guidance.

    Citation:

    Messier, Jr., W.F., N. Martinov-Bennie, and A. Eilifsen. 2005. A review and integration of empirical research on materiality: Two decades later. Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory 24 (2): 153-187.

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