Determinants of Audit Preparers' Workpaper Justifications
43 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2005
Date Written: April 26, 2005
Research indicates that justifiability of a decision is a key determinant of work quality. In this paper, we investigate whether and how the requirement for preparers to justify an audit conclusion to a reviewer with task preferences that are similar to or dissimilar from their explicitly stated initial task preferences determine the nature and extent of justifications documented in their workpapers, and how this effect is moderated by their technical and tacit managerial knowledge. Results of an experiment with auditors as participants indicate that auditors use different forms of justifications under different circumstances. Auditors with high tacit managerial knowledge and high technical knowledge have a higher proclivity to enumerate more pro vs. con reasons, and to consider a wider breadth of issues when they are required to justify their conclusions to reviewers with dissimilar task preferences. In contrast, high tacit managerial knowledge auditors required to justify to reviewers with similar initial task preferences have a greater tendency to employ an evidence framing approach, in which language is used to emphasize consistent evidence by downplaying associated inconsistent evidence. In additional analyses, we find that these three specific forms of justifications are positively associated with evaluations of work quality.
Keywords: Justification, tacit managerial knowledge, review process
JEL Classification: C91, M49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation