Developing a Theory of Auditing Behavior in the Electronic Business Environment

Journal of Theoretical Accounting Research, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 38-82, September 2008

Posted: 18 Sep 2008

See all articles by Arinola O. Adebayo

Arinola O. Adebayo

University of South Carolina at Aiken

Allen S. Lee

Virginia Commonwealth University

Ruth W. Epps

Virginia Commonwealth University - Department of Accounting

Date Written: September 16, 2008

Abstract

Auditing in an electronic world is different from auditing in a paper-based world. Our purpose in this study is to develop a theory of auditing behavior in the e-business environment. We collect data by interviewing auditors in the field and organize the data into three perspectives held by auditors: the technological, social/organizational, and socio-technical perspectives. Based on the rich details of the auditors' three perspectives, we formulate a theory that explains an auditor's behavior in an electronic business environment as resulting from six factors: audit objective, professional orientation, professional standards, professional responsibility, professional reputation, and legal liability. Unlike the current claim that technology is the sole cause of current auditing challenges and the sole source of solution; the study reveals and highlights the role played by social, organizational and institutional factors in shaping the professional change in auditing caused by the increased use of electronic business and information technologies. The study further shows that failure to consider the relevant social, organizational, and institutional factors in explaining the auditing behavior will result in misguided conclusions and sub-optimal resolutions.

Keywords: e-business auditing, audit evidential matter, interpretive research, auditing behavior, technological imperative, social/organizational imperative, socio-technical imperative, electronic audit evidential matter

JEL Classification: M49, C93

Suggested Citation

Adebayo, Arinola O. and Lee, Allen S. and Epps, Ruth W., Developing a Theory of Auditing Behavior in the Electronic Business Environment (September 16, 2008). Journal of Theoretical Accounting Research, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp. 38-82, September 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1268892

Arinola O. Adebayo (Contact Author)

University of South Carolina at Aiken ( email )

171 University Parkway
Aiken, SC 29801

Allen S. Lee

Virginia Commonwealth University ( email )

301 W Main Street
Richmond, VA 23284-4000
United States

Ruth W. Epps

Virginia Commonwealth University - Department of Accounting ( email )

301 W Main Street
Richmond, VA 23284-4000
United States

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