A Multi-Method Study of the Effects of Eliminating Time Entry on Audit Timeliness and Related Auditor and Client Perceptions
44 Pages Posted: 23 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 1, 2020
Public accounting firms traditionally use a billable time entry (BTE) model to assist in budgeting engagements, evaluating personnel, and determining audit fees. However, research has identified drawbacks including time pressure and incentives to engage in audit quality-reducing behavior. Relatively little research examines alternative budgeting models. We conduct a multi-method study to examine the effects of an alternative, No-BTE model recently implemented as a pilot program by a large, regional public accounting firm. Results from proprietary audit engagement archival data indicate the No-BTE model did not have an incremental effect on audit preparer time above and beyond that observed in non-pilot engagements. Survey results indicate auditors who participated in the No-BTE pilot program perceive it can improve elements of audit quality, reduce apprehension over performance evaluations, and improve work/life balance. Survey results from clients did not identify drawbacks. We offer implications for practice and research suggestions on this novel budgeting approach.
Keywords: Time Budgets; Beyond Budgeting; Auditing; Public Accounting; Billable Hours
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