An Organizing Framework for Causes of Auditing Deficiencies

22 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2021 Last revised: 22 Nov 2023

Date Written: November 17, 2023


Using both a deductive and inductive approach, we develop a hierarchical taxonomy for classifying the underlying causes of auditing deficiencies around the world. First, we establish three categories of causes (i.e., proximal, distal, and root) as recommended by root cause analysis researchers in quality management. Second, we explain the relationships among the causes using the Heuristic-Systematic Model. And last, we support the inclusion of our causal categories by obtaining publicly available reports in practice that indicate the most commonly purported causes of auditing deficiencies. The framework is intended to be comprehensive and useful to practitioners, regulators, and academics as it establishes a common vocabulary for future investigations into the root causes of auditing deficiencies.

Keywords: Heuristic Systematic Model; auditing deficiencies; overconfidence; motivation; capacity; auditors' judgment and decision making

Suggested Citation

Nolder, Christine J. and Sunderland, Daniel, An Organizing Framework for Causes of Auditing Deficiencies (November 17, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Christine J. Nolder (Contact Author)

Suffolk University ( email )

Boston, MA 02108
United States

Daniel Sunderland

Northeastern University ( email )

220 B RP
Boston, MA 02115
United States

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