Control Yourself! The Impact of Self-Control on Auditors' Ability to Practice Professional Skepticism
Posted: 22 Jan 2014
Date Written: January 21, 2014
Do auditors who have impaired cognitive resources for self-control have a more difficult time being professionally skeptical? And if so, what impact does experience have? In this study I experiment with auditors at all levels of experience, testing them in a problem-solving task (analytical procedure) that requires evaluation of possible solutions and assessment of the associated risk of material misstatement. The act of professional skepticism requires individuals behave with a “questioning mind,” which requires cognitive resources. I suggest that professional skepticism is essentially an act of self-control. I posit that individuals who have depleted self-control resources have an impaired ability to correctly identify misstated accounts and increased risk aversion. Additionally, I posit that experience plays a moderating role, increasing the likelihood of optimal judgments, and that manipulation to client risk levels activates salient skeptical resources.
Keywords: Ego Depletion, Professional Skepticism
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