Are Industry Specialists More Efficient and Effective in Performing Analytical Procedures? A Multi-Stage Analysis
University of New South Wales (UNSW) - School of Accounting
International Journal of Auditing, Vol. 12, No. 3, pp. 243-260, November 2008
A substantial body of audit research has shown that auditor specialisation through training and experience in one main industry improves auditor judgements. However, because this research examines only one or two audit processes in isolation, it has not been possible to identify whether these improvements lead to gains over an entire task. Further, the comparison of auditors with very different industry specialisations has not allowed these studies to identify incremental gains of specialisation over task and domain experience within a specific industry. The purpose of this study is to examine incremental gains in auditor performance by specialist auditors over auditors with some industry experience (non-specialists) when both groups complete all stages of an analytical procedures task within the same industry. The results of a controlled experiment where both specialists and non-specialists had equivalent general and task-specific experience reveal that, while specialists do not exhibit superior performance in the initial hypothesis generation stage, differences do manifest in later stages. Compared to non-specialists, specialists had a more focused and efficient information search, were more able to generate the correct cause during the task, and identified the correct cause more often.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 18
JEL Classification: M49, C91, J41Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 3, 2008
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