The Role of Valuation Specialists in Audits of Fair Values and Potential for Change under Amended PCAOB Standards

64 Pages Posted: 1 Oct 2021 Last revised: 15 Jun 2022

See all articles by Emily E. Griffith

Emily E. Griffith

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Jacqueline S. Hammersley

University of Georgia - J.M. Tull School of Accounting

Date Written: June 13, 2022

Abstract

The PCAOB recently implemented amended standards on the use of valuation specialists. We report interviews with 42 auditors and valuation specialists in which we describe the role of valuation specialists and the problems during fair value audits under the original guidance. We evaluate whether the amended guidance will change practice and mitigate the problems. We find that specialists are more involved in fieldwork relative to planning and completion. Despite changes to communication and review requirements, specialists’ limited role in making conclusions relative to auditors will continue. Our analysis suggests that the changes in standards are unlikely to meaningfully change practice. We expect little change because the amended standards will not increase specialists’ responsibility for outcomes or provide them additional guidance, they will not require auditors to acquire valuation knowledge, and they cannot reduce the inherent uncertainty in fair value settings. These issues underlie many of the problems in this area.

Keywords: Accounting estimates, Auditing, Fair value, Specialist

JEL Classification: M40, M41, M42

Suggested Citation

Griffith, Emily Elaine and Hammersley, Jacqueline S., The Role of Valuation Specialists in Audits of Fair Values and Potential for Change under Amended PCAOB Standards (June 13, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3933377 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3933377

Emily Elaine Griffith (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

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

Jacqueline S. Hammersley

University of Georgia - J.M. Tull School of Accounting ( email )

Athens, GA 30602
United States

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