Accountability and Affect in Auditor Judgment

35 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2007

See all articles by Brad A. Schafer

Brad A. Schafer

University of South Florida - School of Accountancy

Date Written: August 16, 2007


This paper examines whether auditors' affect toward client management impacts an auditor's objective evaluation of evidence in fraud likelihood judgments. In addition to an overall judgment, this research also explores whether affect impacts all evidence evaluation equally or impacts only certain evidence evaluation in auditors' judgment processes. This research proposes client likeability will impact inexperienced auditors' evidence evaluation through errant attribution to specific evidence statements rather than uniformly through the evaluation process. Accountability and experience are included as potential moderators to the errant attribution. Results indicate that likeability, experience, and accountability interact impacting the overall fraud likelihood judgment. Specifically, inexperienced and non-accountable auditors erroneously include affect in their overall fraud likelihood judgments. For individual evidence assessments, client likeability impacts inexperienced auditors' assessments of specific statements, but not all client provided statements. However, client likeability does not impact experienced auditors individual statement assessments. The implication of these findings suggest that through experience and training, audit professionals gain the ability to identify and exclude irrelevant factors in professional judgment tasks.

Keywords: fraud, accountability, affect, attribution

Suggested Citation

Schafer, Brad A., Accountability and Affect in Auditor Judgment (August 16, 2007). Available at SSRN: or

Brad A. Schafer (Contact Author)

University of South Florida - School of Accountancy ( email )

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