Promoting Proactive Auditing Behaviors

48 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2020 Last revised: 15 Jun 2022

See all articles by Mark E. Peecher

Mark E. Peecher

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; University of Illinois College of Law

Michael Ricci

University of Florida - Fisher School of Accounting

Yuepin (Daniel) Zhou

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Accountancy

Date Written: June 17, 2022

Abstract

We introduce the construct of auditor proactivity to the accounting literature. Since auditors work in complex, dynamic environments where complete directives are often unavailable, auditors need to be proactive to achieve quality audit outcomes. However, proactivity is often lacking in practice. Thus, we position auditor proactivity as a valuable but scarce determinant of audit quality. Drawing on theory from management, accounting, and psychology, we test hypotheses about how environmental and dispositional factors interact to encourage a range of distinct proactive auditing behaviors that involve considering the out-of-task implications of audit evidence, coordinating with clients to acquire evidence, and coaching junior auditors. Using an experiment, we predict and find an ordinal interaction: auditors are more proactive when they have both higher autonomy and higher tacit knowledge, and equally less proactive when they lack either or both of these factors. Our theory and findings inform academics, regulators, and practitioners about how work environments and policies could be modified to promote proactive auditing behaviors.

Keywords: proactive behaviors, autonomy, tacit knowledge, regulatory focus, audit quality, coaching

Suggested Citation

Peecher, Mark E. and Ricci, Michael and Zhou, Yuepin, Promoting Proactive Auditing Behaviors (June 17, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3636498 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3636498

Mark E. Peecher

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

Gies College of Business
1206 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-333-4542 (Phone)
217-244-0902 (Fax)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Michael Ricci

University of Florida - Fisher School of Accounting ( email )

Warrington College of Business
PO Box 117166
Gainesville, FL 32611-7166
United States

Yuepin Zhou (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Accountancy ( email )

1206 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

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