Auditors’ and Specialists’ Views About the Use of Specialists During an Audit

101 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2015 Last revised: 5 Apr 2017

See all articles by J. Efrim Boritz

J. Efrim Boritz

University of Waterloo - School of Accounting and Finance

Natalia Kochetova

Saint Mary’s University - Sobey School of Business

Linda A. Robinson

University of Waterloo - School of Accounting and Finance

Christopher Wong

Wilfrid Laurier University - Accounting; University of Waterloo - School of Accounting and Finance

Date Written: March 31, 2017

Abstract

Auditors often rely on the assistance of specialists from such fields as tax, information technology, valuation, and forensic accounting. Integration of the work of specialists with the work of regular audit team members is a challenge for both the specialists and auditors. This interview-based study of 40 practitioners from six accounting firms, including 18 auditors (partners, managers, seniors) and 22 specialists (tax, IT, valuation, and forensic), examines auditors’ and specialists’ views about the current state of specialist use, sources of conflict, auditors’ confidence in their ability to perform specialist work, firm policies, and future expectations about utilization of specialist services. Findings indicate that both auditors and specialists are dissatisfied with the current situation, but for different reasons. Auditors and specialists disagree on how firm policies influence the use of specialists and how policies are applied. Cost appears to be a key factor in determining whether and the extent to which specialists are utilized in an audit, although the approaches to specialist use differ by phase of the audit and by type of specialist. Overconfidence on the part of the audit team may lead it to limit the extent of specialist involvement. Budget overruns and audit delays can result from specialist involvement, although views on who is to blame for these vary. There are also conflicting views on the effectiveness of audit team supervision of specialists. In addition to discussion of areas of agreement and disagreement between and within the auditor and specialist groups, avenues for future research on utilization of specialists on audit engagements are proposed.

Keywords: specialist, expert, use of specialists in an audit, use of experts in an audit, qualitative study, content analysis, auditing

Suggested Citation

Boritz, Efrim and Kochetova, Natalia and Robinson, Linda A. and Wong, Christopher, Auditors’ and Specialists’ Views About the Use of Specialists During an Audit (March 31, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2534506 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2534506

Efrim Boritz (Contact Author)

University of Waterloo - School of Accounting and Finance ( email )

200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1 N2L 3G1
Canada
519-888-4567 (Phone)
519-888-7562 (Fax)

Natalia Kochetova

Saint Mary’s University - Sobey School of Business ( email )

SB 318, Dept. of Accounting
Sobey School of Business, Saint Mary's University
Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 3C3
Canada
902-420-5800 (Phone)
902-420-5011 (Fax)

Linda A. Robinson

University of Waterloo - School of Accounting and Finance ( email )

200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1 N2L 3G1
Canada

Christopher Wong

Wilfrid Laurier University - Accounting ( email )

United States

University of Waterloo - School of Accounting and Finance ( email )

200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1 N2L 3G1
Canada

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