A Re-examination of the Dilution of Auditor Misstatement Risk Assessments: An Experimental Study of the Impact of Client Information Type, Workload, and PCAOB Guidance on Dilution
Description: Many external parties such as investors, creditors, and regulatory agencies, use a company’s financial statements in their decision-making. In doing so, they rely on audit opinions on whether financial statements are fairly stated. However, evidence suggests that there are factors in the audit environment that influence auditor judgments. For example, nondiagnostic client information dilutes auditor judgments when compared to judgments based on diagnostic information alone, especially for less experienced auditors (Hackenbrack 1992; Hoffman and Patton 1997; Glover 1994; Shelton 1999). High time pressure conditions mitigate this effect by refocusing auditor attention toward relevant client information, therefore reducing the impact of nondiagnostic information (Glover 1994, 1997). This research study examines other common audit environment factors to determine if they too influence audit judgment results. An online questionnaire of 149 auditors, CPAs and other accounting professionals indicate that the inclusion of nondiagnostic client information results in a significant change in auditor judgments. The direction of this change follows a theorized pattern; risk assessments that were initially high are reduced, while those that were initially low are increased. Significance was not consistently found for a workload and PCAOB effect on auditor judgment. However, a comparison of the absolute value of dilution effect means across conditions reveals some trending for the proposed unwanted effect of high workload, and the beneficial effect of PCAOB guidance. These results have important implications for auditing research and practice. It extends previous archival research on workload effects and uses a unique questionnaire design to reexamine workload pressures in a behavioral setting. The results of hypothesis testing on workload pressure and PCAOB guidance, although lacking consistent statistical significance; exhibit trends that agree with proposed theoretical relationships. Tests on the effects of nondiagnostic information show strong statistical support for previous studies in the area of psychology and audit. This study’s greatest ...
Date: December 2015
Creator: Perry, Suzanne M.
Partner: UNT Libraries