When Do Auditors Use Specialists’ Work to Develop Richer Problem Representations of Complex Estimates?

Posted: 9 Jun 2015

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 5, 2015

Abstract

Auditors must recognize problematic patterns among the assumptions underlying complex estimates to identify misstatements. Pattern recognition requires rich problem representations of complex estimates that auditors may be unable to develop given their lack of valuation expertise. I predict and find that a relational cue in a specialist’s work showing how assumptions relate to each other can improve auditors’ problem representations and subsequent judgments about estimates. However, this improvement only occurs when auditors are motivated by low client source credibility to incorporate this cue into their problem representations. This suggests auditors do not always respond to cues in their specialists’ work and suggests avenues for research to improve auditors’ use of specialists’ work. More generally, my findings highlight the role of motivational factors like client source credibility in auditors’ development of problem representations. This has implications for the design of training, decision aids, and other interventions aimed at improving auditors’ problem representations.

Keywords: Accounting estimates, audit quality, fair value, specialist

JEL Classification: M40, M41, M42

Suggested Citation

Griffith, Emily Elaine, When Do Auditors Use Specialists’ Work to Develop Richer Problem Representations of Complex Estimates? (June 5, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2616493 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2616493

Emily Elaine Griffith (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

School of Business
975 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53706
United States

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