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    Effects of Discussion of Audit Reviews on Auditors’ M...
    research summary posted May 9, 2012 by The Auditing Section, last edited May 25, 2012, 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 
    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.  


    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.

    audit, review, discussion, experience, feedback, motivation, performance
    Purpose of the Study:

    Some firms have moved to include discussion of performance and audit findings as part of the review process, a procedure sometimes referred to as “review by interview” or as “coaching.” Practitioners have indicated that discussion-enhanced reviews can take various forms, from real-time questioning while procedures are being performed, to an informal meeting between reviewer and preparer where written comments are read through and discussed. However, little is known about the effectiveness of this method which may prove to be unnecessarily costly if there are no apparent benefits to motivation or performance. Therefore, this paper examines whether adding verbal discussion to the traditional written audit review improves auditor motivation and/or performance.

    Design/Method/ Approach:

    The authors collected data from auditors locally employed by the (then) Big 6 accounting firms (suggesting that data was gathered sometime between 1989 and 1998). Participants included pairs of reviewers and preparers that had previously worked together on a recent audit engagement, resulting in a total of 154 matched sets. Participants were asked to refer to the previous audit engagement and answer questions about their experience with the review process on that engagement. For instance, preparers were asked about the extent to which they felt a conversation with the reviewer about their audit performance took place. They were also asked about their experience and their motivation to improve their performance. Reviewers, on the other hand, were asked about their perception of the preparer’s actual improvement.

    • The authors find that incorporating discussion of performance with written review notes does enhance preparers’ motivation to improve performance; however, more experienced preparers are less likely to be motivated by the review.
    • The authors find that when discussion is incorporated in the review, reviewers perceive actual performance to improve for less experienced auditors but diminish for more experienced preparers.
    • Motivation does not appear to have a significant effect on performance.
    Auditor Judgment, Audit Quality & Quality Control
    Auditor judgment in the workpaper review process, Working Paper Review – Conduct - Biases & Predispositions
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