Auditing Section Research Summaries Space

A Database of Auditing Research - Building Bridges with Practice

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  • The Auditing Section
    A Field-Based Analysis of Audit Workpaper Review
    research summary posted April 13, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 09.11 Auditor judgment in the workpaper review process, 11.0 Audit Quality and Quality Control, 11.03 Management/Staff Interaction, 11.06 Working Paper Review – Conduct, Biases and Predispositions 
    Title:
    A Field-Based Analysis of Audit Workpaper Review
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study are important for audit firms to consider when determining documentation review processes and standards.  The results provide perspective on how auditors approach the review process, and they also provide opportunities for firms to potentially improve processes.  The determination that auditors prepare workpapers to meet reviewer preferences, and that this practice can affect both the content and presentation of the workpapers, is relevant for reviewers.  This knowledge may allow firms and reviewers to consider if any adjustments should be made to their existing review process.   Additionally, it provides evidence on the unique roles of managers and senior associates within the review process.

    Citation:

    Fargher, N. L., Mayorga, D. and K. T. Trotman. 2005. A Field-Based Analysis of Audit Workpaper Review. Auditing: A Journal of
    Practice & Theory
    24 (2): 85-110

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  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    An Accountability Framework for Financial Statement Auditors...
    research summary posted March 30, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 11.0 Audit Quality and Quality Control, 11.01 Supervision and Review – Effectiveness, 11.06 Working Paper Review – Conduct, Biases and Predispositions 
    Title:
    An Accountability Framework for Financial Statement Auditors and Related Research Questions
    Practical Implications:

    In conjunction with the changes discussed in the paper, as listed below, the authors hoped that their initial research would encourage other scholars to look into auditor accountability and formulate proposals of their own through examining intended and possible unintended consequences of the research questions identified.

    Citation:

    Peecher, M. E., I. Solomon, and K. T. Trotman. 2013. An accountability framework for financial statement auditors and related research questions. Accounting, Organizations and Society 38 (8).

  • The Auditing Section
    Audit review: The impact of discussion timing and...
    research summary posted May 9, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 11.0 Audit Quality and Quality Control, 11.06 Working Paper Review – Conduct, Biases and Predispositions 
    Title:
    Audit review: The impact of discussion timing and familiarity
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study provide practical guidance for firms as management determines the staffing of audit engagements and the timing of the workpaper review.  Managers are able to conduct a more effective review when they are familiar with their subordinates.  This suggests that there are benefits from staffing audits with associates who have prior experience working with the manager on the engagement.  The benefits of familiarity include better team performance (and thus higher quality audits).  The familiarity also allows the manager to better gauge the associate’s ability and competence, which enables the manager to focus on areas of deficiencies, which also increases team performance. 

    The study also provides valuable insight regarding the timing of the workpaper review process.  Managers are able to conduct a more effective review when they complete a preliminary review of the workpapers which is followed by a discussion with the preparer.  
    If the initial review of the workpapers is completed during a conversation with the preparer, it is possible that this format could increase the likelihood of an audit error occurring.  Therefore, the evidence suggests that firms should encourage managers to conduct face-to-face conversations about the workpapers after the manager completed his/her initial review.

    Citation:

    Favere-Marchesi, M. 2006. Audit review: The impact of discussion timing and familiarity. Behavioral Research in Accounting 18 (1): 53-64.

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  • The Auditing Section
    Audit Reviewers’ Evaluation of Subordinates’ Work Qua...
    research summary posted May 2, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.11 Auditor judgment in the workpaper review process, 11.0 Audit Quality and Quality Control, 11.06 Working Paper Review – Conduct, Biases and Predispositions 
    Title:
    Audit Reviewers’ Evaluation of Subordinates’ Work Quality
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study are important for audit firms to consider when designing their audit review process.  The evidence indicates that reviewers’ personal biases do impact the way they review subordinate’s workpapers.  Furthermore, it indicates that reviewers that place great importance on preparer/reviewer alignment may sign-off on preparer workpapers that are of lower quality with respect to judgment/conclusion decisions.  An additional concern is that biases may have the potential to cause preparers to focus more on satisfying the reviewer’s preferences and beliefs opposed to performing the necessary procedures and documentation to satisfy auditing and accounting standards.  The study suggests the importance of proper training on the review process and how biases may impact conclusions. 

    Citation:

    Tan, H. and P. G. Shankar. 2010. Audit reviewers’ evaluation of subordinates’ work quality. Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory 29 (1): 251-266

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  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Audit team time reporting: An agency theory perspective
    research summary posted October 21, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.11 Auditor judgment in the workpaper review process, 11.0 Audit Quality and Quality Control, 11.06 Working Paper Review – Conduct, Biases and Predispositions 
    Title:
    Audit team time reporting: An agency theory perspective
    Practical Implications:

    The findings show that managers implicitly encourage auditors to underreport time when dealing with a favorable client. While CPA firms have decreased explicit incentives to underreport, these implicit incentives makes it likely that seniors are underreporting their time. This can lead to unrealistic budgets and possible costing issues for firms. Also, if a senior does not underreport they could risk getting a bad evaluation or not be assigned to desirable future engagements. These situations could lead to a reduction in raises, promotions, and continued employment.

    Citation:

    Agoglia, C. P., R. C. Hatfield, and T. A. Lambert. 2015. Audit team time reporting: An agency theory perspective. Accounting, Organizations and Society 44: 1-14.

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Does the Arrangement of Audit Evidence According to Causal...
    research summary posted October 19, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.11 Auditor judgment in the workpaper review process, 11.0 Audit Quality and Quality Control, 11.06 Working Paper Review – Conduct, Biases and Predispositions 
    Title:
    Does the Arrangement of Audit Evidence According to Causal Connections Make Auditors More Susceptible to Memory Conjunction Errors?
    Practical Implications:

    Evaluating multiple causally arranged evidence sets may precipitate an auditor’s inability to accurately discern the source that pertains to specific information. Susceptibility to source misattributions may cause auditors to inadvertently evoke erroneous client information when rendering memory-based auditing judgments for a client and, therefore, create the potential for impaired judgment quality. Although working papers can serve to curtail informational misattributions, such as those created by MCEs, auditors can become overconfident in the accuracy of their memories and not thoroughly reexamine the working papers for verification. Subsequent to rendering an auditing decision, auditors concurrently working on multiple clients should consider reducing reliance on memory and tailoring working paper review to ensure the relationship between a decision for a certain client and its evidence.

    Citation:

    Grossman, A. M., and R. B. Welker. 2011. Does the Arrangement of Audit Evidence According to Causal Connections Make Auditors More Susceptible to Memory Conjunction Errors? Behavioral Research in Accounting 23 (2): 93-115.

  • The Auditing Section
    Effects of Discussion of Audit Reviews on Auditors’ M...
    research summary posted May 9, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.11 Auditor judgment in the workpaper review process, 11.0 Audit Quality and Quality Control, 11.06 Working Paper Review – Conduct, Biases and Predispositions 
    Title:
    Effects of Discussion of Audit Reviews on Auditors’ Motivation and Performance
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study are useful for understanding the conditions under which a discussion accompanied review is worthwhile and when it is ineffective. The results of this study imply that different review processes may be better for evaluating auditor performance at different experience levels. This finding is in line with prior literature that finds that different feedback methods may be required at different levels of experience to achieve increased performance. The results of this study suggest that firms should consider  implementing discussion as a part of the review process for inexperienced auditors but not for more experienced auditors.  

    Citation:

    Miller, C.L., D. B. Fedor and R. J. Ramsay. 2006. Effects of Discussion of Audit Reviews on Auditors’ Motivation and Performance. Behavioral Research in Accounting 18: 135-146.

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  • The Auditing Section
    Effects of Supervisor Power on Preparers’ Responses to A...
    research summary posted May 7, 2012 by The Auditing Section, tagged 09.0 Auditor Judgment, 09.11 Auditor judgment in the workpaper review process, 11.0 Audit Quality and Quality Control, 11.06 Working Paper Review – Conduct, Biases and Predispositions 
    Title:
    Effects of Supervisor Power on Preparers’ Responses to Audit Review: A Field Study
    Practical Implications:

    The results of this study are important for firms to consider as they show that preparer’s perceptions of reviewers impact the preparer’s response to review notes. Audit firms should try to help their supervisors understand what they can do to exude more referent or expert power and less coercive power. Further, firms should allow subordinates to provide feedback to supervisors in order for them to understand how they are being perceived so they can take the necessary steps to alter the perception. 

    Citation:

    Fedor, D. B. and Ramsay, R. J. 2007. Effects of Supervisor Power on Preparers' Responses to Audit Review: A Field Study. Behavioral Research in Accounting 19 (1): 91-105.

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  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    Error Management In Audit Firms: Error Climate, Type, And...
    research summary posted November 17, 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, 11.06 Working Paper Review – Conduct, Biases and Predispositions 
    Title:
    Error Management In Audit Firms: Error Climate, Type, And Originator
    Practical Implications:

    The findings of this study are important for audit firms when considering how audit offices implement the normally positive tone at the top of the firms that seem to favor practices and policies that support an open error management climate (EMC). First, our results suggest that successfully establishing an open EMC is beneficial for an audit firm in most (but not all) situations examined in terms of enhancing the firm’s ability to uncover internally errors that otherwise may remain undetected in audit working papers. Our findings imply, however, that these benefits can only be achieved when an open EMC is not only stated in formal firm policies but is actually implemented and consistently applied at the individual audit office level. Second, our findings imply that increasing auditors’ willingness to report their own conceptual errors (e.g., where an ineffective procedure is employed or incorrectly implemented) is particularly challenging and requires measures to support auditors in overcoming their concerns about presenting a good impression to their firm, given that an open EMC was not sufficient by itself to increase the reporting of conceptual errors. Finally, the generally high willingness to report own errors suggests that a key question is how to enhance the likelihood that auditors will indeed self-detect these errors.

    Further our findings suggest that audit regulators and inspectors need to be careful in their attempts to ensure that audit firm’s implement policies that support audit quality.  In particular, proposals that would link compensation, discipline and other within firm sanctions for audit quality reducing actions need to be considered carefully in light of the effects that such policies would have on the firm’s error management climate.  Careful delineation between repeat offenders being punished versus supporting an open learning environment for initial reporting of errors needs to be carefully considered and communicated or else the error management climate can quickly become a blame climate where errors are not reduced, just hidden better.

    For more information on this study, please contact any of the authors.

    Citation:

    Gold, A., U. Gronewold, and S. E. Salterio. 2014. Error management in audit firms: Error climate, type, and originator. The Accounting Review 89 (1): 303-330. 

  • Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips
    How Do Audit Workpaper Reviewers Cope with the Conflicting...
    research summary posted October 13, 2015 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, tagged 06.0 Risk and Risk Management, Including Fraud Risk, 06.05 Assessing Risk of Material Misstatement, 11.0 Audit Quality and Quality Control, 11.01 Supervision and Review – Effectiveness, 11.06 Working Paper Review – Conduct, Biases and Predispositions 
    Title:
    How Do Audit Workpaper Reviewers Cope with the Conflicting Pressures of Detecting Misstatements and Balancing Client Workloads?
    Practical Implications:

    These findings have implications for both practice and future research. For example, the PCAOB has raised questions about (1) the thoroughness with which engagement managers and partners review audit documentation, and (2) the extent to which their attention to engagements reflects audit-related risks. Further, the IFAC has acknowledged that reviewers in today’s audit environment have alternative ways in which to conduct their reviews, and prior research suggests that the choice of review format has implications for audit. The results presented here advance the understanding of the factors that influence this choice. The findings provide insight to firms, regulators, and inspectors regarding the impact of workload pressure and misstatement risk on how audit managers and partners conduct their reviews. These issues are increasingly relevant given recent changes to the regulatory environment.

    Citation:

    Agoglia, C. P., J. F. Brazel, R. C. Hatfield, and S. B. Jackson. 2010. How Do Audit Workpaper Reviewers Cope with the Conflicting Pressures of Detecting Misstatements and Balancing Client Workloads? Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory 29 (2): 27-43.

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