Training Auditors to Perform Analytical Procedures Using Metacognitive Skills
The Accounting Review
Posted: 22 Jul 2011 Last revised: 26 Mar 2021
Date Written: July 20, 2011
Although lower-level auditors increasingly carry out mandatory analytical procedures (APs) in audits, they do not perform as well as partners and managers. In order to improve performance in APs by lower-level auditors, we investigated tasks requiring creativity, where training in metacognition- consciously thinking about one's thought process improves task performance. As a result, we train lower-level auditors to use a sequential thought process comprised of two metacognitive skills: divergent thinking, where they generate explanations for unusual evidence, followed by convergent thinking, where they evaluate explanations generated and eliminate those judged infeasible. To test the efficacy of our training, we conducted an experiment with three conditions: both divergent and convergent thinking, divergent thinking only, and a control. We found that training auditors in only divergent-thinking increases both the number and quality of explanations generated for an unusual situation. However, the combination of divergent- and convergent-thinking training leads to improved explanation generation over divergent thinking alone and, more importantly, leads to a greater likelihood of generating and choosing the correct explanation.
Keywords: metacognition, divergent thinking, convergent thinking, training, analytical procedures, ill-structured tasks
JEL Classification: M4, M40, M41, M49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation