Auditing Section Research Summaries Space

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  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    The Impact of Estimate Source and Social Pressure on...
    research summary posted February 16, 2017 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.03 Adequacy of Evidence 
    Title:
    The Impact of Estimate Source and Social Pressure on Auditors’ Fair Value Estimate Choices
    Practical Implications:

    To the auditors’ knowledge this study is the first to examine the joint effect of social pressure and estimate source. By examining the joint effect of these two factors, they identify the boundary conditions under which the effect of estimate source holds. The results of this study indicate that auditors perceive advice to be more acceptable when it is from a superior than when it is from a peer. Further, when advice is received from a peer, auditors in this study indicate that the advice is more likely to be weighed against other evidence than when the same advice is received from a supervisor. 

    Citation:

    Brink, A. G., F. Tang, and L. Yang. 2016. The Impact of Estimate Source and Social Pressure on Auditors’ Fair Value Estimate Choices. Behavioral Research in Accounting 28 (2): 29 – 40. 

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Biased Evidence Processing by Multidisciplinary Greenhouse...
    research summary posted August 31, 2016 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 05.0 Audit Team Composition, 05.01 Use of Specialists e.g., financial instruments, actuaries, valuation, 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.03 Adequacy of Evidence 
    Title:
    Biased Evidence Processing by Multidisciplinary Greenhouse Gas Assurance Teams
    Practical Implications:

     This study has implications for public accounting firms engaging in GHG engagements. Team training that establishes an understanding of the knowledge and role of the team members from differing disciplines might help to alleviate over-reliance on peer-provided evidence. In the context of multidisciplinary assurance teams, establishing and adhering to audit firm quality control mechanisms relating to evidence collection, evaluation, and review are of particular importance. Accounting firms may also need to pay particular attention in fostering an assurance environment that encourages objective evidence processing.

    Citation:

     Kim, S., W. J. Green, and K. M. Johnstone. 2016. Biased Evidence Processing by Multidisciplinary Greenhouse Gas Assurance Teams. Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory 35 (3): 119-139.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    On audits and airplanes: Redundancy and...
    research summary posted October 19, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.03 Adequacy of Evidence 
    Title:
    On audits and airplanes: Redundancy and reliability-assessment in high technologies.
    Practical Implications:

    This article explains the importance of redundancy to both design and assessment practices in aviation, but contests redundancy’s ability to accurately translate between them. It suggests that FAA reliability assessments serve a useful regulatory purpose by couching the qualitative work of engineers and regulators in an idiom of calculative objectivity, but cautions that this comes with potentially perverse consequences. For, like many audit-practices, reliability calculations are constitutive of their subjects, and their construal of redundancy shapes both airplanes and aviation praxis.

    Citation:

    Downer, J. 2011. On audits and airplanes: Redundancy and reliability-assessment in high technologies. Accounting, Organizations & Society 36 (4/5): 269-283.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Audits of Complex Estimates as Verification of Management...
    research summary posted October 19, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 05.0 Audit Team Composition, 05.01 Use of Specialists e.g., financial instruments, actuaries, valuation, 08.0 Auditing Procedures – Nature, Timing and Extent, 08.04 Auditors’ Professional Skepticism, 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.03 Adequacy of Evidence, 09.12 Impact of potential post-audit review - e.g., PCAOB, internal firm inspections, 11.0 Audit Quality and Quality Control, 11.05 Training and General Experience, 11.09 Evaluation of Evidence 
    Title:
    Audits of Complex Estimates as Verification of Management Numbers: How Institutional Pressures Shape Practice.
    Practical Implications:

    Based on the interviews and problems identified, the authors conjecture that potentially suboptimal auditing methods are being used to evaluate complex estimates which are an important and growing part of the financial statements. This may be negatively impacting audit quality. More specifically, auditors over-rely on management estimates because they lack the knowledge and incentives to behave otherwise. This possibility has direct consequences for auditor professional skepticism because increasing professional skepticism may be less effective unless auditors are also given the requisite knowledge to properly use it. These problems are reinforced by auditing standards and regulators which generally outline/criticize the current auditing methods without suggesting new or better ones.  

    Citation:

    Griffith, E., J. Hammersley, and K. Kadous. 2015. Audits of Complex Estimates as Verification of Management Numbers: How Institutional Pressures Shape Practice. Contemporary Accounting Research 32 (3): 833-863.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Big data as complementary audit evidence.
    research summary posted September 11, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 08.0 Auditing Procedures – Nature, Timing and Extent, 08.09 Impact of Technology on Audit Procedures, 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.03 Adequacy of Evidence 
    Title:
    Big data as complementary audit evidence.
    Practical Implications:

    Incorporating Big Data into an audit poses several challenges. This article establishes how Big Data analytics satisfy requirements of audit evidence, namely that it is sufficient, reliable, and relevant. The authors bring up practical challenges (such as transferring information, privacy protection, and integration with traditional audit evidence) and provide suggestions for addressing them in incorporating Big Data into audit evidence. They also suggest that Big Data can complement tradition audit evidence at every level of audit evidence: financial statement, individual account, and audit objective.

    Citation:

    Yoon, K., L. Hoogduin, and L. Zhang. 2015. Big data as complementary audit evidence. Accounting Horizons 29 (2): 431-438.

  • The Auditing Section
    Why Do Auditor’s Over-Rely on Weak Analytical Procedures? T...
    research summary posted April 13, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 08.0 Auditing Procedures – Nature, Timing and Extent, 08.01 Substantive Analytical Review – Effectiveness, 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.03 Adequacy of Evidence 
    Title:
    Why Do Auditor’s Over-Rely on Weak Analytical Procedures? The Role of Outcome and Precision
    Practical Implications:

    Analytical procedures are used frequently and increasingly are relied upon as substantive evidence. Based on this study, auditors are insensitive to the impreciseness of the analytical procedure when the results are favorable and may be a cause for over-reliance on weak evidence.  Performing a stronger, more precise analytical procedure caused participants in the favorable outcome situation to become more aware of the weakness of the initial procedure and re-evaluate their evidence strength rating. Further, evidence suggests that having auditors consider the possible weaknesses of an analytical procedure prior to performing the procedure will cause them to rate the strength of the evidence from a weak analytical procedure lower. Overall, this suggests a need to better train auditors in performing and interpreting analytical procedures.

    In a discussion of Glover et al.’s paper, McDaniel asks whether the findings may indicate that auditors in the unfavorable outcome (i.e. there is a material difference) are under-relying on the evidence rather than that auditors in the favorable outcome (no material difference) are over-relying on the evidence. Glover et al. respond that the over-relying of the evidence is of concern to regulators and the alternative does not explain all of the results.  McDaniel also notes that the case study was of a company in the financial industry but that the participants were not required to have any financial industry experience. Glover et al. note that the interest income item is the issue which is not specific to the industry or complicated.  McDaniel also notes concerns about a potential “anchoring” effect as the participants performed their analytical procedures based on prior year working paper results.  In response, Glover et al. discuss this feature of an audit. 

    Citation:

    Glover, S. M., D. F. Prawitt, and T. J. Wilks. 2005.  Why Do Auditor’s Over-Rely on Weak Analytical Procedures?  The Role of Outcome and Precision.  Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory 24 (Supplement):  197-220.  

    McDaniel, L. 2005.  DISCUSSION OF Why Do Auditor’s Over-Rely on Weak Analytical Procedures?  The Role of Outcome and Precision.  Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory 24 (Supplement):  221-228. 

    Glover, S. M., D. F. Prawlitt, and T. J. Wilks. 2005. REPLY TO DISCUSSION OF Why Do Auditor’s Over-Rely on Weak Analytical Procedures?  The Role of Outcome and Precision.  Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory 24 (Supplement):  229-232.

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  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    The Impact of Principles-Based versus Rules-Based Accounting...
    research summary posted July 20, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.03 Adequacy of Evidence, 15.0 International Matters, 15.02 IFRS Changes – Impacts 
    Title:
    The Impact of Principles-Based versus Rules-Based Accounting Standards on Auditors' Motivations and Evidence Demands.
    Practical Implications:

    The heightened epistemic motivation induced by principles-based accounting standards then ultimately increases auditors’ demands for audit evidence. Thus, the results suggest the important influence of accounting standards on auditors’ motivations and consequent program planning decisions. The findings provide valuable information to regulators in their evaluation of how or whether to move forward with potential IFRS adoption or convergence of U.S. GAAP with IFRS. In a principles environment, audit firms must take measures to guard against this potential bias, e.g., review of proposed audit programs and results of tests.

    Citation:

    Peytcheva, M., Wright, A. M., & Majoor, B. 2014. The Impact of Principles-Based versus Rules-Based Accounting Standards on Auditors' Motivations and Evidence Demands. Behavioral Research In Accounting 26 (2): 51-72.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Training Auditors to Perform Analytical Procedures Using...
    research summary posted February 24, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 08.0 Auditing Procedures – Nature, Timing and Extent, 08.01 Substantive Analytical Review – Effectiveness, 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.03 Adequacy of Evidence 
    Title:
    Training Auditors to Perform Analytical Procedures Using Metacognitive Skills
    Practical Implications:

    This research furthers the understanding of auditors’ judgment performance in four important ways. We show that

    • Effective training in metacognitive skills increases auditors’ diagnostic reasoning by enabling them to control and direct their thinking.
    • Training in both divergent and convergent thinking provides significantly better results than only learning to think divergently. Because the former are better able to piece together all necessary facts.
    • The key to performance improvement due to training in both divergent and convergent thinking is a reduction in a psychological mechanism called “consistency checking.” Auditors trained to use both tend to avoid premature elimination of explanations, instead subjecting explanations they generate to subsequent, explicit evaluation. An important implication of this is that for auditors who try to do both kinds of thinking simultaneously rather than sequentially the best explanation for a problem might not be generated or might be prematurely discarded.
    • In the same amount of time that participants in the other training conditions took to arrive at their inferior answers, auditors trained to use both divergent and convergent thinking chose one of the correct solutions more often, generated better explanations, and eliminated more potentially time-wasting invalid explanations.

    For more information on this study, please contact David Plumlee.

    Citation:

    Plumlee, R. D., B. Rixom, and A. Rosman. 2015. Training auditors to perform analytical procedures using metacognitive skills. The Accounting Review 90 (1): 351-369.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Extreme Estimation Uncertainty in Fair Value Estimates:...
    research summary posted February 19, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.03 Adequacy of Evidence, 12.0 Accountants’ Reports and Reporting, 12.05 Changes in Reporting Formats 
    Title:
    Extreme Estimation Uncertainty in Fair Value Estimates: Implications for Audit Assurance
    Practical Implications:

    The increasing use of uncertain fair value measurements and other estimates in financial statements place an increasingly difficult burden on auditors, who are required to provide a high level of positive assurance that financial statements—including those containing items subject to enormous inherent estimation uncertainty such as those described above—are fairly stated in all material respects. The authors state that auditors are doing their best within the requirements imposed by standard setters and regulators, but also suggest that it is time for those who set and regulate standards to consider ways to more clearly convey where extreme estimation uncertainty exists within financial statements, and to reconsider auditors’ ability to provide positive, high level audit assurance on these inherently uncertain estimates.

    For more information on this study, please contact Steven M. Glover.

    Citation:

    Christensen, B. E., S. M. Glover, and D. A. Wood. 2012. Extreme Estimation Uncertainty in Fair Value Estimates: Implications for Audit Assurance. AUDITING: A Journal of Practice & Theory 31 (1):127-146.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Differential Evaluation of Audit Evidence from Fixed versus...
    research summary posted November 24, 2014 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 08.0 Auditing Procedures – Nature, Timing and Extent, 08.02 Sample Selection – use of statistical sampling, 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.03 Adequacy of Evidence 
    Title:
    Differential Evaluation of Audit Evidence from Fixed versus Sequential Sampling
    Practical Implications:

    The results have implications about situations in which others evaluate the auditor’s work after the fact, such as the audit review process or the examination of audit evidence by regulators, jurors, or judges. In such situations, decision makers need to evaluate the strength of previously gathered audit evidence, and to judge the extent to which the evidence supports a previously reached conclusion. Regarding the assessed sufficiency of audit evidence, the results suggest that evaluators of the auditor’s work could require larger sample sizes under sequential sampling than under fixed sampling, to support the same level of confidence in the auditor’s opinion. Although sequential sampling might in fact increase audit efficiency, the findings suggest that this benefit could be negated by subsequent unfavorable assessment of audit evidence from a sequential sampling plan.

    For more information on this study, please contact Marietta Peytcheva.

    Citation:

    Gillett, P. R., and M. Peytcheva. 2011. Differential evaluation of audit evidence from fixed versus sequential sampling. Behavioral Research in Accounting 23 (1): 65-85. 

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