Internal Audit Assistance and External Audit Timeliness

Posted: 9 Jan 2013

See all articles by Lawrence J. Abbott

Lawrence J. Abbott

University of Memphis

Susan Parker

Santa Clara University

Gary F. Peters

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville

Date Written: 2012


Professional standards guide external auditors to consider the effect of the client’s internal audit work and opportunities to utilize the direct assistance of the internal audit function when planning and conducting audits. We examine the effect of internal audit assistance on external audit timeliness via the extent of external audit delay. We hypothesize and find that internal audit assistance is negatively associated with external audit delay. We also document moderating relationships between internal audit assistance and other internal audit environment characteristics, such as the extent of internal control reliance, coordination with the external auditor, and the investment in internal audit quality. Overall, our findings have implications for firms and external auditors who are evaluating the role and use of internal audit functions. Namely, our findings suggest that internal audit assistance may not only result in audit cost savings, but also in greater audit efficiencies. These findings are particularly germane given the challenges faced by external auditors in the form of greater audit requirements, shorter regulatory filing deadlines, resource constraints, and audit fee pressures.

Keywords: Internal Audit Assistance, Audit Delay, Audit Efficiency, Internal Audit Quality, Internal Control Reliance

Suggested Citation

Abbott, Lawrence J. and Parker, Susan and Peters, Gary F., Internal Audit Assistance and External Audit Timeliness (2012). Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, Vol. 31, No. 4, 2012, Available at SSRN:

Lawrence J. Abbott

University of Memphis ( email )

Department of Accounting
Memphis, TN 38152
United States
901-678-4576 (Phone)
901-678-2685 (Fax)

Susan Parker

Santa Clara University ( email )

Leavey School of Business 500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States
(408) 554-4899 (Phone)
(408) 554-5193 (Fax)

Gary F. Peters (Contact Author)

University of Arkansas at Fayetteville ( email )

Sam M. Walton College of Business
Department of Accounting
Fayetteville, AR 72701

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