The Effect of Professional Skepticism on the Fraud Detection Skills of Internal Auditors
39 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2004
Date Written: 11 November 2004
This study examines whether higher levels of skepticism are correlated with behaviors that might enable internal auditors to better detect fraud. Specifically, the Hurtt Skepticism Scale (Hurtt 2003) is used to classify internal auditors responding to a questionnaire as either high or low skeptics. The auditors are confronted with various types of fraud symptoms to evaluate whether higher levels of skepticism increase the desire to search for additional facts and potentially lead to improving fraud detection. In addition, a change in the behavior of the high and low skeptics in the desire for seeking more information after a one-day fraud awareness training session is examined. The results show that internal auditors who rank higher on the skepticism scales generally have a significantly greater desire to increase their information search related to fraud symptoms. After training, the differences between the high and low skepticism groups are narrowed for several of the personality characteristics. This research provides some of the first empirical evidence of the important relationship between skepticism characteristics and fraud detection skills.
Keywords: Skepticism, Fraud Detection, Internal Auditors
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