Auditing Section Research Summaries Space

A Database of Auditing Research - Building Bridges with Practice

This is a public Custom Hive  public

research summary

    Characteristics of Relatively High-Performance Auditors
    research summary posted September 19, 2013 by Jennifer M Mueller-Phillips, last edited September 19, 2013, tagged 05.0 Audit Team Composition, 05.05 Diversity of Skill Sets e.g., Tenure and Experience, 11.0 Audit Quality and Quality Control, 11.05 Training and General Experience 
    245 Views
    Title:
    Characteristics of Relatively High-Performance Auditors
    Practical Implications:

    Auditors who are higher-performing perceive technical knowledge and abilities, client interaction skills, and professional attitudes/behaviors as being important.  Prioritizing training in these areas or recruiting new auditors who prioritize these areas may have a beneficial impact to firms.  In addition, these auditors rely less on standard audit procedures and perceive that their role can influence the outcome of the audit.  Therefore, it may be helpful for firms to emphasize the importance of using standard audit procedures only as a guideline for the audit, as overreliance on these procedures could lead to a lack of professional skepticism.  Evaluating prospective hires in terms of their locus of control could also indicate their willingness to be more comfortable in ill-structured tasks and exert more effort on audit tasks.
       
    For more information on this study, please contact Constance McKnight.
     

    Citation:

    McKnight, C. A. and W. F. Wright.  2011.  Characteristics of relatively high-performance auditors.  Auditing: A Journal of Practice and Theory 30 (1): 191-206.

    Keywords:
    job performance; tacit knowledge; task structure; locus of control; expertise
    Purpose of the Study:

    Previous research has examined some determinants of auditor job performance, but has not examined what in particular distinguishes auditors with superior overall job performance.  Determinants of superior job performance could be factored into training or hiring practices, depending on whether the determinants can be taught or are innate.  Attributes such as technical knowledge and abilities, client interaction skills, and professional attitudes/behaviors are predicted to be perceived as more important determinants of overall job performance by higher-performing auditors.  Predicted indicators of higher job performance are less reliant on standard audit procedures (indicating a higher willingness to be professionally skeptical) and having a personality resulting in an internal “locus of control” (believing in their ability to influence outcomes, as opposed to the outcome being primarily influenced by external factors).

    Design/Method/ Approach:

    The authors obtained the two most recent performance evaluations from eight public accounting firms for 56 auditors (including staff, seniors, and managers) prior to 2008; these were used to split the auditors into higher-performance and lower-performance.  The auditors then performed self-evaluations of their overall performance on their last two jobs and assessed their relative performance in terms of technical knowledge and abilities, client interaction skills, and professional attitudes/behaviors.  They also completed evaluations of how much they rely on standard procedures as well as completing a locus of control survey.

    Findings:
    • Auditors with higher firm performance evaluations assessed their relative performance in terms of technical knowledge and abilities, client interaction skills, and professional attitudes/behaviors as higher than those with lower evaluations
    • Staff auditors with higher firm performance evaluations rely less on standard audit procedures than those with lower evaluations
      • Seniors and managers had no difference of reliance on standard audit procedures across the firm performance evaluation levels
    • Auditors with higher firm performance evaluations are more likely to have an internal locus of control than those with lower evaluations
       
    Category:
    Audit Quality & Quality Control, Audit Team Composition
    Sub-category:
    Diversity of Skill Sets (e.g. Tenure & Experience)