An Experimental Examination Of The Effects Of Goal Framing And Time Pressure On Auditors’ Professional Skepticism

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Professional skepticism is a critical component of audit practice and current auditing standards direct auditors to remain skeptical throughout the duration of each audit engagement. Despite the importance and prevalence of an emphasis on professional skepticism throughout auditing standards, evidence indicates that auditors often fail to exercise an appropriate degree of professional skepticism. Prior accounting research suggests that auditors’ professionally skeptical behavior is affected by individual personality traits as well as situational (state) influences, whereby both factors contribute to auditor professional skepticism. Yet, prior research has primarily focused on trait skepticism; and little research to date has investigated the concept ... continued below

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Robinson, Shani N. December 2011.

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  • Robinson, Shani N.

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Professional skepticism is a critical component of audit practice and current auditing standards direct auditors to remain skeptical throughout the duration of each audit engagement. Despite the importance and prevalence of an emphasis on professional skepticism throughout auditing standards, evidence indicates that auditors often fail to exercise an appropriate degree of professional skepticism. Prior accounting research suggests that auditors’ professionally skeptical behavior is affected by individual personality traits as well as situational (state) influences, whereby both factors contribute to auditor professional skepticism. Yet, prior research has primarily focused on trait skepticism; and little research to date has investigated the concept of state skepticism. The purpose if this research study is to experimentally investigate the impact of time pressure and trait skepticism on state skepticism, and to test a potential debiasing procedure on the impact of time pressure on state skepticism. In addition, this study examines the influence of both skepticism types on skeptical behavior.This research offers several contributions to accounting literature and practice. First, I contribute to the existing debate regarding the influences of professional skepticism by providing evidence that professional skepticism may be categorized as a temporary state, induced by situational aspects, in addition to being classified as an enduring trait. Second, I identify certain situational conditions which create differences in the level of state professional skepticism exhibited within an auditing context. Lastly, my findings may also be important to audit firms as they consider tools within their training arsenal equipped to promote an appropriate level of professional skepticism among employees. If auditor skepticism can be influenced by the frames they are provided, then audit firms may create an environment that promotes consistency in auditors’ application of professional skepticism, simply by engaging in goal framing.

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  • December 2011

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  • Oct. 2, 2012, 4:18 p.m.

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  • Nov. 16, 2016, 12:08 p.m.

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Robinson, Shani N. An Experimental Examination Of The Effects Of Goal Framing And Time Pressure On Auditors’ Professional Skepticism, dissertation, December 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103383/: accessed March 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .